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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review of The Accused

Goodreads | Eric_W Welch (Forreston, IL)'s review of The Accused:

Alvin Morlock is a lonely professor at a fourth rate college. He lets himself be conned into going to Providence to get some girls, and while there happens to meet Louise, a rather desperate schemer; a woman in the fast lane who, realizing she's aging, wants a husband.

Louise, after several evenings of this, was bored with Morlock's company in spite of her fondness for him. On New Year's Eve she sent him away early, letting him guess that she was sick. (He was shyly pleased with the delicate intimacy of the hinted revelation and the close relationship the very revelation itself implied.) He left feeling quite gallant. When he was safely gone, she changed her dress and called a cab. Far enough from Federal Hill she allowed herself to be picked up in a cafe and thereafter surrendered herself to drinking and to her companion with complete abandon. It was the last time, she promised herself. Afterward she would be faithful to Morlock. After they were married. It did not occur to her that he might not ask.

Three months into the marriage Alvin discovers she's running up debts and not paying the bills. Morlock is humiliated and unsure what to do. In his despair he returns to Arby's Rock where he had found comfort as a child with a slightly younger friend whom he had defended at school against some bullies.  What happened to her haunts him and the trial resulting in the inevitable outcome.

Daniels alternates between a description of events and  testimony in Morlock's trial for first degree murder.  It's skillfully done and while hardly literature, the book definitely holds your interest and keeps the pages turning to learn what might actually have happened and what will happen.

Daniels wrote a series of crime novels in the fifties that were well regarded.  Except for some anachronisms (fifteen dollars was a lot of money) this one holds up well.  We get a nice sense of the characters feelings and the gulf between the trial and reality - if that exists and the demons that haunted them.

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