A murder of Quality
John le Carré.
The reason I chose to read A Murder of Quality is because I read something is the newspaper about John le Carré’s work. On this blog I want to tell you guys something about the book and the blackmailing in the story. But first of all something about John le Carré himself, John le Carré is a pseudonym for David John Moore Cornwell, a British author of espionage novels. When he was younger he worked for m15 and m16, he left his profession to be a writer. His books are about crime and complex riddles.
Stella Rode Glaston sent a letter to Miss Brimley in which she wrote that her husband, Mister Rode, wanted to kill her. Miss Brimley received the letter when she was working as an agent (Miss Fellowship) for a magazine called Christian Voice. Miss Brimley took the letter very serious and she contacts her old friend George Smiley who was a good private investigator. However, when he started his investigations, it was already too late. Stella Rode Glaston had already been killed.
The story is about the search for Stella’s murderer. During the search also Tim Perkins gets killed. First, it seems that Mister Rode is the killer of both his wife and Tim Perkins. However, later in the book Mister Fielding, landlord and chemistry teacher turns out to be the murderer. He committed the crimes because he had been blackmailed by Stella Rode Glaston. He could not stand the pressure and therefore he killed her, later when he thougt Tim was getting suspicious he killed him too.
I want to examine the circumstances in which a “normal” person can lose his mind and kill somebody. Probably, Mister was feeling so bad and down, that he saw killing Stella as the only way out. In case of blackmailing a lot of pressure is laid on the victim. Reason for this is that the blackmailer wants to obtain something from the victim. When the victim does not cooperate something bad will happen. In this story the backmailer threatens to reveal the victims homosexuality. Blacmail can influence people in such a degree that they collapse emotionally. According to the law, blackmailing is forbidden. Under section21(1) of the Theft Act 1968 of English law, a person commits the offence:
if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces; and for this purpose a demand with menaces is unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief:
(a) that he has reasonable grounds for making the demand; and
(b) that the use of the menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand. The victim can report the blackmail to the police, but this will hardly ever be done, because the victim is scared. Another problem is that the blackmailer often makes paradoxical demands on the victim. Whatever the victim does to meet the demands, it will never be sufficient.
This is a time bomb: at a certain point things will go wrong. In the book: Mr Fielding kills Stella. Characteristic for victims of blackmail is that they will always blame somebody else. In the story: While Mr Rode is accused of killing his wife, Mr Fielding shuts his mouth and affirms the accusation. Only when it turns out that Tim has been nosing about his suitcase and has seen probable evidence, Mr Fielding also kills Tim.
Returning to the story, I would like to add another comment. The impact of a murder in a school community is enormous. Also in real life these things happen, recently in Urk a 14 year old schoolboy, Dirk Post, was murdered. However this child was even younger than Tim, still the effect is just as huge.
After all I enjoined reading the book, even sometimes I think it was realy difficult to entangle the names. I think John le Carré is a great writer and if you like thrillers I can realy recommend you to read some of his books. I am going to read a some of his other books: the spy who came from the cold, call for the dead and a small town in germany. A film is also been made of a Murder of Quality.