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Before the Fact by Francis Iles

Before the Fact (1932)

by Francis Iles

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1611274,103 (3.74)27



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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."


Francis Iles (Anthony Berkeley Cox) must have been a complete misogynist to have created such a hopeless, useless, idiotic female character as Lina McLaidlaw Aysgarth. I purely hated this book. I bought it & read it because I actually loved Trial and Error, written by this author as Anthony Berkeley.

I'm donating it to Goodwill in hopes that it may find a reader who can stand it better than I can. ( )
  booksandscones | Sep 29, 2016 |
It took me a while to get through it. It isn't my cup of tea, but I had to finish it. Short reads got me through.

Francis Illes style is of the psychological thriller rather than the outright who-done-it. There are no police, no outright victim, but there is crime. Tension is the primary mood in this story of two co-dependent people.

Lina is in love with Johnnie. Even though she has been told by those who know that Johnnie is bad news, she marries him. After a few years she realizes how bad an apple he is. He has caused the death of her father, stolen from friends, embezzled from an employer, forged Lina's signature to pay betting debts, cheats on her and she realizes that he is planning to kill her. All this in the name of money, using his boyish charm and charisma and the ability to talk his way out of things.

I give this 5 stars as the writing is top knotch and the author takes you through various moods. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 23, 2016 |
Brilliantly written, but such irritating characters. ( )
  mlfhlibrarian | Nov 24, 2015 |
I was looking forward to reading Before the Fact by Francis Iles as the Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘Suspicion” was based upon this book. Also I had read a book by this author before and really enjoyed it. Luckily, I was very taken with this story, although I admit that there were times when I had strong reactions to the choices the characters made and found myself talking aloud to it.

When spinster Lina McLaidlaw marries the charming Johnnie Aysgarth, she thought she must be the happiest person alive. As the marriage progressed, the layers were slowly peeled back and revealed that she had married a total cad. Addicted to gambling and women, eventually Lina leaves him only to go back when he crooks his finger in her direction. Johnnie was always able to turn on the charm and work his magic on his “Monkeyface” and she, moronically went along with him. She finds out even more despicable things about him, but not only stays in the marriage, she also finds reasons to excuse his behaviour. Eventually, she realizes that Johnnie will stoop to anything even murder.

I applaud the author on a very clever and well crafted plot. As rotten as Johnnie is, Lina is the character that drove me crazy and there were many times when I felt like wringing her neck. Basically this is a dark comedy about what happens when a no-good rotter and the ultimate masochist come together. Although I suspect that many prefer the kinder, less offensive movie version, I loved every cruel and vile moment of Before The Fact and highly recommend it. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Jul 23, 2015 |
This is required reading for my film class, as it later inspired the Hitchcock film Suspicion, which is a great film. I started off really liking this book, as in my opinion Frances Iles is a much better writer than Raymond Chandler, the last mystery writer I read.

The plot is an interesting one: a woman begins to suspect that her gambling-addicted husband is trying to kill her. If you have ever seen the movie, you should know now that this book differs significantly. In the movie, Lina is a somewhat sensible woman that the audience can relate to. In the book, she is grade-A moron. I’m a little unsure if Iles is trying to make a statement about why so many women stick with their abusive relationships, or if this book simply lacks the influence of a few feminist waves.

This book is perfect for the Sassy Gay Friend Youtube videos, where they say that “This fate could have been avoided if Lina had a sassy gay friend,” because that is so true. Reading this book became very frustrating, because Lina has to deal with getting over her love of her ridiculous husband, and makes some very questionable life choices in the mean time. However Iles makes up for it in that she provides great characterization elsewhere in the book. Lina’s husband for example, is a great creation. And even if Lina has low self-esteem, you can still understand her conflicts most of the time. But damn it Lina, get out of your marriage while you can. ( )
  danlai | Sep 1, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Iles, Francisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ahmavaara, EeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dexter, ColinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Some women give birth to murderers, some go to bed with them, and some marry them.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Cover description (1933): A powerful study of an unusual but believable scoundrel, here is something new in criminal fiction depending for its interest not upon ingenious clues or swift deduction but upon the complexities of human character. The love of an adoring wife for a husband she knows to be a complete rotter is presented without exaggeration. Although the fascinating problem presented by the author is strange and baffling, he never loses his grip of reality -- And who, incidentally is 'Mr. Iles'?
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Swept away by an admirer's inexhaustible charm, Lina McLaidlaw finds herself settled in a life she could never have imagined: head of a fine household in a remote and exclusive part of Dorset and guardian of both the morals and the finances of the man she has chosen to marry. Feckless and irresponsible Johnnie Aysgarth may be, but despite a shaky start she has finally got him under control.She waited until she was thirty before accepting a marriage proposal, and eight years after that before grudgingly accepting that her husband was - and perhaps still could be - a murderer.… (more)

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