Saturday 20 March 2021

Malice Aforethought

Finished March 16
Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles

This book was first published nearly a century ago and the plot and characters are definitely of that time. It is set in a small country town in England where Edmund Bickleigh is a doctor. Edmund was a bit of a player with the ladies before finding himself maneuvered into a marriage. His wife is domineering, and, once married, uninterested in the physical side of the marriage. Edmund continues to philander with the local ladies, yet never harbouring any thoughts of ending his marriage until a young and not-very-social heiress moves to their area. He suddenly begins to consider using his medical knowledge and access to drugs to end his wife's life, freeing him to move on to his new relationship. 
He tries to take his time, and plan things out carefully, but there are things out of his control, and he makes a careless mistake, opening himself up to suspicion and an arrest. 
This novel takes us through his actions, including the court scene, and the ending is one that is extremely ironic. 
None of the characters are particularly sympathetic, so for me, this was more about the plot than the characters. We don't see any point of view except that of Bickleigh, and the other characters lack depth.

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