cover image The Colour of Murder

The Colour of Murder

Julian Symons. Poisoned Pen, $12.95 trade paper (282p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1089-1

Originally published in 1957, this suspenseful entry in the British Library Crime Classics series from MWA Grand Master Symons (1912–1994) focuses on the psychology of the accused. It opens with a statement to a consulting psychiatrist by John Wilkins, the assistant manager of a London department store’s complaints department, who has been suffering from blackouts. John is unhappily married to May, and dates the origin of his present, unspecified legal dilemma to an encounter with an attractive librarian, Sheila Morton. He lies to Sheila about his marital status and persuades her to go to the theater with him. Although Sheila rebuffs his advances, John begins talking to May about divorce—and to his uncle about a recent criminal case in which a man was acquitted of murdering his spouse. His situation comes to a head in Brighton, where he takes May on vacation, knowing that Sheila will be there as well, a confluence that leads to murder and a trial. Symons neatly balances a sympathetic portrayal of the unlikable John with a classic whodunit. [em](Feb.) [/em]