Victim of circumstance /

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Main Author: Underwood, Michael, 1916- (Author)
Format: Book
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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Underwood begins this as an open hommage to Francis Iles' Malice Aforethought; as with Iles' Dr. Bickleigh, we watch a man carefully planning to murder his wife--here it's boarding-school teacher John Farndon, bored with unadaptable French wife Monique and infatuated with half-oriental assistant matron Belinda. But from the moment when John is about to pull the trigger we jump to a trial--not John's, but Monique's! Somehow (that's the mystery) John wound up shot in the back of the head, and Monique claims that it was an accident amid the self-defending scuffle. A great opening gimmick--but the rest is just standard, leisurely Underwood, very heavy on courtroom questioning, the Judge's comments, etc. And the solution, though on one count a genuine surprise (somewhat reminiscent of Christie's Endless Night), isn't really satisfying. Still, the energy of that Iles-inspired beginning will be enough to propel many readers right along to the end. (And we'll hope it may also propel them right over to Iles' still-mesmerizing 1931 classic.) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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