Before the Fact

Before the Fact



The Pequod Review:

In his earlier book Malice Aforethought (1931), Anthony Berkeley (writing as Francis Iles) told his story from the perspective of the perpetrator; in Before the Fact, the point of view is the victim's. Once again, Berkeley's excellent character development carries the story. However, the book is hindered by the deus ex machina nature of a poisonous "mysterious alkali" that conveniently for the plot is in "daily use everywhere." But Berkeley remains a fine writer; here is the book's excellent first paragraph:

Some women give birth to murderers, some got to bed with them, and some marry them. Lina Ayrsgarth had lived with her husband for nearly eight years before she realized that she was married to a murderer.

With some changes to the ending, the book became the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion.