20 September, 2013

Not Hornblower

C.S. Forester

I have, obviously, known C.S. Forester for many years as an excellent story-teller (the Hornblower books are old favourites). I had never come across him previously as a murder/suspense writer, unless i allow The Peacemaker (first read about forty years ago, before even Hornblower) to fall into that category; i clearly have to increase my understanding of his abilities.

This was a delightful, though horrible too, book, telling the story of a man who murders once to secure his future and comes to find that he is prepared to see it as a way of answering many more of his needs than he anticipated. Indeed, there are few characters in the book whom he would not be ready to murder should the need arise. Forester's skill is shown as he makes his protagonist, the murderer, while clearly an unattractive person, sympathetic to the reader, such that i was almost rooting for him to succeed, hoping that he'd have just one more successful killing. When i thought about it, of course, i was horrified; while immersed in the book, though, clearly Morris had my sympathy.

Undoubtedly a success by my criterion, i had not expected otherwise, knowing Forester's other work; i shall definitely look for his other works in the same genre.

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