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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Forester Fans
This is a competent and satisfying work by one of Britain's finest writers, although not one of his outstanding books. Set in a dormitory suburb of London between the wars, it relates a story of passion, plotting and murder within a single family.
As an illuminating look into the lives lived by the lower middle classes in that time and place, it is excellent. The...
Published on 1 Nov 2011 by a2025398

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work
I can't help feeling that this is not so much a lost work but one deliberately kept back by the author. It is a murder story that lacks credibility. The characters tend to act in a way that seems most unlikely. An early work by Forester not worthy to be compared with the likes of the Hornblower tales etc.
Published 3 months ago by Chris Jenkins


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Forester Fans, 1 Nov 2011
By 
a2025398 (LUTON Beds UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pursued (Hardcover)
This is a competent and satisfying work by one of Britain's finest writers, although not one of his outstanding books. Set in a dormitory suburb of London between the wars, it relates a story of passion, plotting and murder within a single family.
As an illuminating look into the lives lived by the lower middle classes in that time and place, it is excellent. The passion and scheming make it difficult to put this book down. Some readers may consider the ending less than dramatic, but it seemed to me to be realistic.
For Forester addicts, this book may be reminiscent of Payment Deferred, but lacks the final twist. It can certainly be compared to One Wonderful Week, but has a much darker atmosphere.
I am very glad that this lost work was found and has been published. The discoverers and publishers are to be congratulated. Any Forester fanatic should possess it; every student of human nature will enjoy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of lust and murder and revenge, 14 Dec 2011
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pursued (Hardcover)
Finding a complete, unpublished manuscript by a master storyteller must be a dream for a certain sort of bibliophile. You probably don't though, dare hope that it actually be a gripping, page-turning, and realistic psychological drama, as this is.

I was surprised when The Pursued came out to realise that CS Forester - whose Hornblower stories I devoured in my teens - actually wrote other stuff. It would have been more believable if this unpublished volume was the only one, but there's also Payment Deferred (Penguin Modern Classics) and Plain Murder (Penguin Modern Classics) - how could I have missed those?

Anyway, The Pursued is very much a dramatisation of George Orwell's essay Decline of the English Murder. We have the claustrophobic 1930s background, the domestic tyrant, Ted, self-satisfied master of his own little kingdom, adulterer, abuser of his wife. We see the desperate life of his wife Marjorie - and look how well Forester portrays her plight, down to the details of shopping, housework and childcare - and her hope of just a little time not devoted to giving Ted what he himself describes as "the life of a lord". Then there is the slow burning jealousy, the desire for revenge, the eventual explosion, flight, and capture. All convincingly done, with great insight into the characters and their motivation - a story that could have come out of a 1930s edition of the News of the World. Among other merits, I'd note how well Forester deals with the vein of sex that runs through this book - keeping within the limits of what could have been published at the time, never becoming cute or gushing, yet conveying very directly the desire and urgency of his characters (one fears that many modern novelists dealing with the same subject matter would end up in the running for the Bad Sex Award).

Absolutely superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top thriller, excellently observed, 10 Sep 2012
By 
Junius (London, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pursued (Hardcover)
C.S. Forrester is well known for his Napoleonic stories but he also wrote domestic tales in the 1920s/30s too. Plain Murder and Payment Deferred are two such and this is a third. It is set in a claustrophobic suburban world of the lower middle classes in London in the 1930s. There is a sudden death and the majority of the book follows the characters in the pursuit of justice/revenge, but not by legal methods. To say much more would be the act of a spoilsport, but it is written in a very gripping style.

Equally this book can be seen as a portrait of an era, with domestic details being well observed. Compares with some of Orwell's novels. However, there's a few errors - magistrates' courts rather than police courts should have been the term used; judges were not present at these, Acton, Ealing and Hornsey were not parts of the LCC but were in Middlesex and newspaper reports of inquests in the 1930s often did not use the full first names of all those mentioned therein. Apart from these very minor glitches, a thoroughly readable novel by a master craftsman.

Unusually told from the female perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One the finest short crime thrillers you will read, 25 Mar 2014
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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As a refreshing change from much of today's over-written, bloated fiction, CS Forester's "lost" 1935 novel The Pursued could not be more highly recommended. In just over 200 pages, he manages to convey plenty of mood, atmosphere, lurking suspicion, dread and a sense of lives spiralling out of control as his compelling story of frustrated lives in surburbia unfolds.

It is impressively done, all the more so because the book manages to convey such a lot in so few words - a lesson that any writer working today would do well to learn from - and rarely dips below the point where it is a compelling read.

Coming home from an evening out, housewife and mother Marjorie finds her sister lying dead in her kitchen, and this sparks the story that follows, with Forester taking us on an unexpected journey not so much into the world of the whodunnit, but much more a drama of the mind. Towards the end of the novel, with its various twists and turns, it reminded me very much of Simenon on top form - but with very much a sense of English restraint coming over in the narrative.

Thirties Britain is brilliantly evoked, with its sense of shabby gentility and hidden passions behind the prim facades. Recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work, 30 May 2014
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This review is from: The Pursued (Penguin Modern Classics) (Kindle Edition)
I can't help feeling that this is not so much a lost work but one deliberately kept back by the author. It is a murder story that lacks credibility. The characters tend to act in a way that seems most unlikely. An early work by Forester not worthy to be compared with the likes of the Hornblower tales etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best., 17 Jan 2014
By 
Vivek K. Sarawgi (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pursued (Hardcover)
I am a C.S.Forester fans. I have read quite a few of his books. His research into the subject is excellent. The story is told in a straight forward manner and it is always very absorbing. An excellent read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Pursuing, 23 Dec 2013
By 
Jonathan Lomas (Wimbledon, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pursued (Penguin Modern Classics) (Kindle Edition)
An unusual novel (for its period), this murder mystery set in suburbia is told through the eyes of a long suffering housewife married to a brute. Forester is better known for his Hornblower novels, but this novel (which he chose not to publish in his lifetime) is the third in a trilogy of stand alone murder mysteries which are told from the point of view of the people involved n the crimes, rather than from the detective's viewpoint. The writing is crisp and the 1920s setting seems strikingly modern, as does its frankness when dealing with sex.

I'm wondering whether Forester might have reviewed the title or possibly the ending if he'd chosen to pursue his own career as a detective writer, but it remains a very satisfying picture of suburban life and a well told murder story. I'd also suggest it marks him as a pioneer in this genre ahead of both Iles and Highsmith.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting., 28 Aug 2013
By 
Bernard J. Ryan "BJR" (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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A well written, entertaining book.
It unfolds at a relaxed pace, but keeps you gripped.

The book I have says it was written in 1935, yet there's a scene in the book where one of the characters goes to see the movie 'Mr Deeds...' with Gary Cooper, which wasn't released until the following year, 1936, so I guess the story was written a bit later than the book claims.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Crime fro an earlier era., 23 Aug 2013
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I read Payment Deferred many years ago and saw the film of it with Charles Laughton. That I really enjoyed. This book ok and gets the feel of the 1930's, when it was written but the ending was a bit flat and disappointing. Will probably read Plain Murder at some time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book - little known period thriller by CS Forester, 17 May 2013
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This review is from: The Pursued (Penguin Modern Classics) (Kindle Edition)
Fascinating as a lost thriller much appreciated by Hornblower enthusiast. Excellent whodunnit with excellent character + period description. Most readable
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