Wednesday, February 6, 2019

THE COLOUR OF MURDER (British Library Crime Classics) Review


'One of our most ingenious and stylish home-grown crime novelists' — Spectator
'A book to delight every puzzle-suspense enthusiast' — New York Times

John Wilkins meets a beautiful, irresistible girl, and his world is turned upside down. Looking at his wife, and thinking of the girl, everything turns red before his eyes — the colour of murder.
But did he really commit the heinous crime he was accused of? Told innovatively in two parts: the psychiatric assessment of Wilkins and the trial for suspected murder on the Brighton seafront, Symons' award-winning mystery tantalizes the reader with glimpses of the elusive truth and makes a daring exploration of the nature of justice itself.

Synopsis from Amazon

My thoughts....4 stars

Despite the focus on psychology and early scientific forensics, both understandable given the era it was written, THE COLOUR OF MURDER holds up to the passage of time well.

The first half of the book is narrated by John Wilkins. John informs the reader about his job, meeting his wife, his marriage, and other facets of his life. All these bits are important as is so often the case in mysteries. It's your job to figure out which bits matter.

The second half focuses on events after the murder, specifically the procurement of legal representation (so similar yet so different from our system), the investigation, the trial, and aftermath once the verdict is handed down.

The pace of THE COLOUR OF MURDER may seem slow but this is, first and foremost, a character driven story and murder. You'll be rewarded for sticking with it.
Also interesting is the social/societal aspect. The TV parties may be passe but much of the rest hasn't changed all that much.

If you can deal with the slower pace and the dated portions, THE COLOUR OF MURDER isn't as predictable as one might believe and is worth your time.

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