C. S. Forester
Forester's masterpiece of suspense. A middle-aged bank clerk with a mountain of debt and an extravagant wife commits a murder in secret. Later, a profitable investment brings him a fortune. Haunded by his crime, he suffers an ironic fate in an excellent final twist.
the sack one of these days, just see if he doesn’t.’ And Marble, tired to death, weary with fear, worn out by the thumping of his heart, crept brokenly to his desk and buried his face in his hands. 5 Mr Marble was paying. He was paying by the feeling of weary misery from which he suffered as he walked home that day across London Bridge, as he stood exhausted in the train, and in the bus which brought him from the station, and as he sat in the back room at 53 Malcolm Road. It was a
of actions which Annie and the children had come to know all too well. He roamed round the room and picked up a couple of the eternal books on crime that lay about; then he felt in his pocket for the sideboard key; he brought from the sideboard the decanter, the siphon, and the glass; and then with his arms full he passed out of the room. The children and their mother heard him go into the drawing-room at the back, and they heard the door shut with unnecessary violence. ‘Oh dear, oh dear, oh
efforts! ‘Glad you came down, John,’ he said. ‘Your mother’s had a – bit of an accident. Help me upstairs with her.’ John said nothing, but he bent and put his arm under her shoulders, while Marble held her at her knees. Between them they dragged her upstairs. She was conscious and well enough to walk up herself by that time, but a frozen silence lay on all three of them, and none of them would break it. They laid her on the bed, and Mrs Marble wailed and dabbed at her eyes with her
the awakening next morning, bleary-eyed and foul-mouthed, was not as wretched as might have been thought. For at least he had grateful solitude, and to Mr Marble solitude was very grateful, unless he had Marguerite with him. There was no wife with the anxious look in her eyes to worry him; he could roam round the house and satisfy himself for the thousandth time that the garden was undisturbed; he could dress himself slowly and leave the house without all the fuss of saying good-bye. He was
him on the shoulder; she was a soft-footed ghost that wandered about the house, coping ineffectually with the work that awaited her, and usually weeping, but so quietly that it did not disturb him. Sometimes Mrs Marble wept at the memory of her dead son; sometimes she wept because her back hurt her. But she wept at other times, too, and she did not know why she did; actually she was weeping because her husband had ceased to love her. Very grey, very frail and very, very unhappy was Mrs Marble at