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Malice Aforethought (Pan Classic Crime) Paperback – 9 Apr 1999

4.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Paperback, 9 Apr 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (9 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330373145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330373142
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,245,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Book Description

A classic crime masterpiece - and major TV adaptation --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Francis Iles is the pseudonym for Anthony Berkeley Cox, but it is for his two widely-acclaimed masterpieces, MALICE AFORETHOUGHT and BEFORE THE FACT, both written as Francis Iles, that he is most famous. Iles was also a literary reviewer for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the Guardian. He died in 1971. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Right from the first sentence, this book grips you and won't let go. I can't say anything about the plot without giving it away, so I'll just say that it will turn your expectations upside down. At one level, it is light and witty, but there's a menacing, disturbing undercurrent. Even though it's now nearly seventy years old, this book is still as fresh and original as if it were written yesterday. Most modern crime writers would give their right arm to create something this good.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Written between the wars. A very good read.
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Format: Paperback
This masterful suspense thriller takes the unusual route of revealing the killer from the very first sentence. From that moment on, the reader is drawn into the mind of the hen-pecked, unfufilled doctor, his dreams of self assertion, his creative desires, and longing to escape his overbearing wife.
Iles is able to glean from the reader sympathy for his main character, in spite of the circumstances. The novel contains one of the most unusual, totally gripping finales ever written.
Superbly dramatised in the late '70's, this is a masterpiece of crime writing.
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Format: Paperback
A delightful comedy (for this is its main strength, not the fact that it was the first "psychological thriller"-and I have my doubts about this fact: didn't Mrs. Belloc Lowndes anticipate Cox?). Dr. Bickleigh, a philandering medico suffering from an inferiority complex, determines to rid himself of his wife, a bullying and domineering shrew, in order to marry his mistress-who announces her engagement to another man immediately after the murder. (Of course, his "ingenious" plan is immediately seen through by the other villagers.) Superb wit: excellent social satire-St. Mary Mead steeped in venomed ink, with plenty of amusingly catty back-biting and splendid caricatures. Berkeley at his most acerbic is highly amusing, in small doses-like aconitine.
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Format: Paperback
Following a tennis party a G.P decides to murder the wife he hates, to be with the woman he loves. No spoilers there as this is revealed on the very first page.
Very entertaining, and surprisingly adult crime novel. The characterisation is what makes this book stand out from the likes of Christie and Heyer. The author's knack of turning the reader's perceptions regarding the characters, on their heads means your sympathies and allegiances switch around as the book goes on. His depiction of life in this little village conjures up a stifling atmosphere of gossip, recrimination, spite and secrets. A strangely moral book full of people who do 'immoral things'. Worth reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First saw this on TV (starring Hywel Bennett) in the 80s and loved it. This book, which the TV drama faithfully reproduces, should be a masterclass in writing a thriller about a psychopath.
I think I'm right in saying this was the first thriller where the one who Dunnit was revealed right at the beginning of the book. In fact in the first sentence! It is wonderfully well written with beautifully drawn village characters all of whom ring true. I have read it many times over the years and it never fails to grip me.
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Having read a number of 'classics' I assumed this would be another mildly diverting page turner. On the contrary it's Ingeniously plotted with a highly readable narrative, well drawn characters and an obligatory twist. And lots of sly humour. Highly recommended.
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Have been reading a lot of the novels from the so called 'golden age of crime writing'. This was a particular highlight. What a perverse little protagonist we had in Dr Bickleigh, but somehow I rather liked him (if not his twisted sense of morality). Imagine my surprise when we got to the twist at the end - SHAN'T SPOIL IT FOR YOU, but it literally made me laugh out loud. Looks like I shall be reading some more from this author - whatever his nom-de-plume may be
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