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Before the Fact (Arcturus Crime Classics) Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
His psychological study of his characters is a wonderful change from the other kinds of books in the mystery genre. He was quite unique in his writing style & timeless in providing a page-turning challenge as to what will come next.
If you are a fan of English Golden Age murder mysteries, you should not miss this one.
I don't want to say much about the book as I think each reader deserves to read it all for themselves but, right up until the end I thought perhaps, just maybe she wouldn't succumb to him even though I already knew from what I had read so far that it was inevitable that she would.
Anyway, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.
I will not give any spoilers in case you have not seen the movie or read the book. The book is quite different from the movie in key ways - which is why I wanted to read it. While it is not one of my favorite books, I did enjoy reading it. The book has a definite darker edge.
A most significant difference is in the character of Lina. In the movie, you feel sorry for her, or maybe have a little disgust for her for being such a weakling. In the book, she is quite aggravating: she is conceited, arrogant, condescending, obtuse, stupid in many places (she has to be told that 10% of 50 is 5....seriously) and deliberately makes bad decisions. It is really difficult to like her, much less feel sympathetic for the character. I can not help but feel the author had contempt for women who stay with cads...or contempt for women all together, because very few of the female characters in this story were what you would call likable.
I found myself disliking Lina more and more as I continued the story. Johnny, on the other hand, was portrayed with a flip and maddeningly careless air throughout most of the book, similar to Cary Grant's portrayal in the movie - with a very notable exception.
I think that Alfred Hitchcock's retelling of the story is superior; however, I like the darkness of the book, esp. the ending. This would be a great movie to remake, taking some of the darker elements of the original work and combining with the more likable Lina of the movie. Not the greatest book I have ever read, but certainly not a bad book. If you can tolerate a quite annoying woman as the main character, I recommend it.