Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Colour of Murder by Julian Symons

book cover
The Colour of Murder
by Julian Symons

ISBN-13: 9781464210891
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: Feb. 5, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
John Wilkins meets a beautiful, irresistible girl, and his world is turned upside down. But did he really commit the heinous crime he was accused of? Told innovatively in two parts: the psychiatric assessment of Wilkins and the trial for suspected murder on the Brighton seafront, Symons' award-winning mystery tantalizes the reader with glimpses of the elusive truth and makes a daring exploration of the nature of justice itself.

My Review:
The Colour of Murder is a crime story set in England and originally published in 1957. The first half of the story was John recounting to a psychologist the events leading up to the murder. He's unhappy with his wife and attracted to a beautiful, young girl. He makes up an elaborate fantasy world around this girl, though she's not consciously encouraging him. He has blackouts when he drinks too much, but he's so unhappy that he's drinking too much. Then a murder occurs and John is arrested for it. He has no memory of the critical parts of that evening because he was drinking.

At this point, I was bored as I was expecting a mystery rather than a story of a pitiful mid-life crisis. Then we get into the actual murder trial. The evidence increasingly showed that John was unlikely to have committed the murder (though it was still possible). However, the police and jury don't see anyone else with an obvious motive--though they weren't looking too hard. There were clues and, at the very end, John's lawyer is certain he knows who did it.

Basically, this novel is less a mystery and more of a commentary on the justice system and how lawyers twist the truth to fit the image they are trying to build. John couldn't stand being seen as the type of person they made him out to be and ends up insane. I found it a rather depressing read. There was a fair amount of bad language (including b**ch). There were no sex scenes.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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