Cover image for The colour of murder
Title:
The colour of murder
ISBN:
9781464210891
Edition:
First U.S edition.
Physical Description:
262 pages ; 21 cm.
General Note:
"Originally published in 1957 by Collins, London"-- Title page verso.
Geographic Term:
Summary:
"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."-- Page [4] of cover.
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Summary

Summary

Mystery crime fiction written in the Golden Age of Murder

'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.


Author Notes

JULIAN SYMONS(1912Â-1994) was a notable writer of British crime fiction from the 1950s until his death, publishing more than thirty novels. He served as President of the prestigious Detection Club, won two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, and is well known as the author of Bloody Murder, a classic history of crime fiction.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Originally published in 1957, this suspenseful entry in the British Library Crime Classics series from MWA Grand Master Symons (1912-1994) focuses on the psychology of the accused. It opens with a statement to a consulting psychiatrist by John Wilkins, the assistant manager of a London department store's complaints department, who has been suffering from blackouts. John is unhappily married to May, and dates the origin of his present, unspecified legal dilemma to an encounter with an attractive librarian, Sheila Morton. He lies to Sheila about his marital status and persuades her to go to the theater with him. Although Sheila rebuffs his advances, John begins talking to May about divorce-and to his uncle about a recent criminal case in which a man was acquitted of murdering his spouse. His situation comes to a head in Brighton, where he takes May on vacation, knowing that Sheila will be there as well, a confluence that leads to murder and a trial. Symons neatly balances a sympathetic portrayal of the unlikable John with a classic whodunit. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

A shy, frustrated London husband's infatuation with another woman ends in murder in this reprint of a 1957 book, which won the Crime Writers Association Best Novel award on its first publication.John Wilkins isn't looking for an affair. He's not looking for much of anything at all: not acceptance of his proposal to merge the Palings department store's Complaints Department, where he works, with its Service Department; not the raise he assures his standoffish wife, May, he's going to get one of these days; not even May's demonstrated affection. But once he meets librarian Sheila Morton, an equally harmless soul who pretends greater interest in him than she actually feels, he can't help fantasizing about her and their future together, and the periodic blackouts he's suffered for several years become more frequent, more severe, and more troubling. When Sheila announces that she's taking a vacation in Brighton, Wilkins talks May into booking a stay at a hotel a few blocks away, and it's in Brighton that matters come to a head, setting up a long confession Wilkins makes to a sympathetic psychotherapist and an equally long trial for murder. To say more would spoil the surprises planted by Symons (Playing Happy Families, 1994, etc.), whose love/hate relationship with the tropes of the classic British mystery continued throughout his long career. This time, he achieves perhaps his most successful melding of sociological analysis, golden-age whodunit tropes, and darkly satirical sendups of the very conventions he relies on to structure this unexpectedly moving tale of a deeply ordinary man all too easily moved.This perfect choice for Poisoned Pen's British Library Crime Classics series wears its 60 years with surprising lightness. Now how about some Henry Wade? Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The latest reissue in the British Library's Crime Classics series comes from a writer long acknowledged as a trailblazer in psychological suspense. Symons wrote more than 30 novels and won multiple Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America. This title, first published in 1957, was voted best crime novel of the year by the UK's Crime Writers' Association. It centers on the psyche of one very unhappily married, unhappily employed London resident, John Wilkins, who meets and falls in love with a local librarian. We gain our first knowledge of Wilkins' mind in the opening section, Before, through a series of letters he writes to a consulting psychiatrist (the first tingle of suspense comes from not knowing why he's been ordered to do this). The fact that Wilkins writes that he sometimes suffers from blackouts complicates both his and our knowledge of what he may have done. Part two, After, switches gears, with Wilkins on trial for committing a heinous murder on Brighton beach. The suspense is heightened by our not knowing until a good way into the novel who the murder victim is (novelist Martin Edwards, in his fascinating introduction, calls this technique a throwback to the whowasdunin fashion in Golden Age mysteries). Symons keeps readers on their toes with his unreliable narrator and numerous misdirections, but he amply rewards us with a story that makes us think. A very welcome reissue.--Connie Fletcher Copyright 2018 Booklist