The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster consists of three exciting detective stories: City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room. Each is a thriller that is brilliantly written and sure to hold the reader's interest. Auster's writing style raises the mystery to a new level, with the constant play on words.
City of Glass begins with a wrong number phone call inthe middle of the night. Quinn didn't pay much attention to the call. As a mystery writer, he had a lot of time for other things and liked to walk around New York. Walking brought him peace of mind. He now writes mystery novels under the pen name William Wilson. His latest novel was completed two weeks earlier and he was now relaxing when the phone call came, asking for Paul Auster of the detectiveagency. It was a wrong number and Quinn went back to sleep. The stranger calls again the next night and again several days later. Quinn decides to play the role of Auster and asks the caller what he wants. The caller says that someone is trying to kill him and that he needs help. He knows who is trying to kill him but doesn't know where the man is. They schedule a meeting at ten the next morning.In Chapter Two, Quinn gets up the next morning, eats breakfast and goes out, not sure of where he is going. He arrives at the address the caller had given him and finds a woman, Virginia Stillman, the wife of the caller, Peter. She leaves him in the living room and goes to find her husband. Peter Stillman appears, dressed completely in white. He introduces himself and says that Peter Stillman isnot his real name. Stillman babbles more or less about not remembering his real name or much of his past. He talks in a babbling, rhyming poetic way that makes little sense. Peter is not right in the head.
Peter babbles on and on and says that it is his father who will try to kill him. He tells his story in his own way about how he had been mistreated and abused by his father. When Peter isfinished telling his story, he he ends the visit. Quinn sits there quietly, saying nothing.
City of Glass, Chapter 3-5 Summary
Quinn is not aware of how long he listened to Peter Stillman, but eventually Virginia enters, turns on a light and leads Peter off to his nurse. Quinn says they hired him for a job and he is willing to help. He plays the role of a detective. Virginia goes on to explain someof Peter's story, explaining that Peter's father was a Harvard educated professor who taught at Columbia until Peter was two. He kept Peter locked in a dark room for nine years calling it an experiment after he quit his job. Peter was discovered when there was a fire at the house and his father was hospitalized as insane. The father will be released the next day. Since he had written Peter athreatening letter when there was talk of releasing him two years earlier, Peter and Virginia are concerned for Peter's safety.
Virginia wants a daily report from Quinn. She wants the elder Stillman followed so she knows where he is. She was referred to Paul Auster by Peter's nurse's husband. They discuss Quinn's fees and Virginia gives him an advance. Quinn could never cash the check because it wasmade out to Paul Auster. Virginia kisses him goodbye and he agrees to call her the next evening.
In Chapter Four, Quinn thinks of the various experiments that he has heard of that involved trying to keep children from learning to talk. Most learned some sort of speech. Quinn wants to help Peter because of the son he has lost, whose name was also Peter.
Chapter Five has Peter hiring a taxi andreturning to his own home then decides to eat out for dinner. He walks to the Heights Luncheonette. As he eats, he and the counterman discuss baseball as they usually do. Before leaving, he buys a red spiral notebook to use for the Stillman case. He returns to his apartment and studies the picture of the elder Stillman that he had received from Virginia. He sits and thinks about the case,...