A truly terrifying crime novel! In this novel, Walter hates his wife and wishes she were dead, kind of. He finds newspaper clippings about missing or dead women, he even visits the employment of a man who is suspected of killing his wife. And when his wife threatens to kill herself, he leaves the house and goes to the movie, only to find her later having taken pills and needing to be in the hospital.
But he doesn’t kill his wife.
So when she ends up dead, the plethora of clues and evidence and pattern of behavior really really really makes him look guilty.
In a lot of ways this book is a lot like Strangers on a Train in that one’s desire to be rid of an awful wife (and the less than progressive divorce laws) creates a situation in which legal innocence can look a lot like guilt.
This novel is really intense for a couple of reasons. One, we know the truth, but we can’t control the ways in which that truth is presented and understood by the characters.
Two, the main character is a complete idiot. I mean, you could guess that by the title, but his behavior throughout the novel is completely suspicious, and in some cases outright damning.
And in a third reason, we live in a dystopian police state in the US and always have, and this book further illustrates how if a cop wants to ruin your life (or kill you) and get away with it, they almost certainly can. Don’t talk to cops, people, and don’t go out of state with them!