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Payment Deferred by C. S. Forester
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Payment Deferred (original 1926; edition 1955)

by C. S. Forester (Author)

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140685,666 (3.84)9
Member:poison_mouth
Title:Payment Deferred
Authors:C. S. Forester (Author)
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Rating:****
Tags:crime

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Payment Deferred by C. S. Forester (1926)

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The art of C.S. Forester had a high point in the 1926 publication of "Payment Deferred." It is a very good example of the small sub-genre of the thriller, the How-Dunnit! It is a genre trapped into a strait jacket because we know what will happen, so character development is everything. How Forester himself regarded this book is shown by the name of his small yacht. It was called "Annie Marble". Read this book, you may never get your hands on this thing being so well done again! ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 1, 2014 |
I always thought that C S Forester only wrote seafaring novels; I never associated him with three psychological suspense stories written at the start of his career in the 1920s. And what a find Payment Deferred was.

It's the story of pathetic bank clerk William Marble and his slow, but unremitting descent into madness following the death of his only nephew. This isn't a who done it, but a detailed and haunting account of the effect that murder, money and social class can have on an individual and those around him. Forester has a really distinctive voice and devised a gripping plot that is worthy of comparison to Ruth Rendell or Andrew Taylor. It's hard to believe that this was written almost 90 years ago, and even harder to believe that this (along with his two other suspense titles), has been out-of-print for decades.

For crime fiction aficionados, do yourself a favour and read this book. Highly recommended.
© Koplowitz 2011 ( )
  Ant.Harrison | Apr 28, 2013 |
A memorable psychological drama.
I ordered and read this on my Kindle, immediately after finishing The Pursued by the same author. If anything I enjoyed it even more.
Poor Mr Marble, he's trapped in a stultifying job and marriage (as he sees it) and drowning in debt. His taste for whiskey doesn't help. Temptation arrives in the form of a wealthy relative, temptation he seizes without a thought for the consequences. Unfortunately for Mr Marble, this novel is a tale of consequences. Rather than the freedom he sought, has Mr Marble’s act of spontaneity condemned him to spend the rest of his days trapped in a vice of lies and deceit, from which no amount of wealth can release him?
Forrester’s appeal to me lies in his ability to take us seamlessly from the internal tortures of one character to another. In this way, he rackets up the tension bit by bit. We may not like the characters, but privy as we are to their innermost thoughts, we understand them and empathise.
I won't spoil the ending, but it takes an unexpected form.
A dark domestic tale, a murder mystery and psychological thriller rolled into one.

Nina Jon is the author of the newly released Magpie Murders, a series of short murder mysteries with a Cluedo-esque element.
She is also the author of the Jane Hetherington's Adventures in Detection crime and mystery series, about private detective Jane Hetherington. ( )
  nina.jon | Apr 10, 2013 |
Warning: I tried not to spoil the ending, but if you want to read this review you may be better off waiting until you've read the book.

****

This was an excellent book that packed way more into 188 pages than other mystery/suspense writers can pack into 500. Mr. William Marble is a down-at-heel bank clerk with a lot of debts and not much hope of repaying them. A visit from a wealthy relative leads to murder, and for the rest of the book we wait for Marble to get caught. What will be his fatal mistake?

Forester writes very well indeed, giving each member of the Marble family their due as characters in the limelight, with insight into their thoughts and motivations. Nervous, desperate Mr. Marble; dim but devoted Annie, his wife; son John, loyal to his mother and resentful toward his father; and daughter Winnie, who grows up feeling much more superior than her roots. The description of the murder itself is well done, so subtle that one can be excused for thinking like Mr. Marble and believing that it was actually a dream.

If you want a sample of Forester's writing style, here's a quote describing Marble's daughter, Winnie:
"She liked to think of herself as cold-blooded and calculating. Calculating she may have been; cold-blooded she certainly was not. She could weigh up chances, and make a plan of campaign, but she never chose the cautious plan indicated by those chances. Winnie's cold-bloodedness amounted to an ability to see the folly of recklessness combined with an inability to avoid being reckless."

And the fatal mistake on Mr. Marble's part, the "excellent final twist"? Oh, it was heartbreaking, but very well done. I actually exclaimed out loud when I came to the last couple of pages.

If you like the Hornblower series and also have a hankering for well-written suspense, you'd do well to pick this one up. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jan 14, 2012 |
This was an eerie story reminiscent of a Hitchcock movie. It was about a creepy little opportunistic man who murders his long lost nephew for money. Mr. Marble, the aforementioned creep, spends the rest of his life brooding over and trying to avoid detection for his utterly evil crime. Eventually, justice is served with an ironic twist. I was really gripped by this book until about three quarters of the way through. Because it started to seem too long and drawn out, the twisted ending had less impact than it otherwise might have. ( )
  cranmergirl | Jan 6, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 193154171X, Paperback)

Forester's masterpiece of suspense. A middle-aged bank clerk with a mountain of debt and an extravagant wife commits a murder in secret. Later, a profitable investment brings him a fortune. Haunded by his crime, he suffers an ironic fate in an excellent final twist.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:42 -0400)

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