A murder of Quality

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.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A murder of Quality

  1. Dear Hessel,

    I’m going to respond on your book report, first of all I would like to say the book seems exciting to me. Thrillers are totally my genre in books, and when murders occur it makes it even better. I thought your summary was a bit on the long side I would have liked to read more about your own opinion, instead of the facts containing the book. I thought the part where you talked about the English law, and went on about the blackmailing was very interesting, in reality the people who are victims of blackmailing don’t get help from the law, they are to afraid. Also well done you pointed that out. In the Netherlands it’s violence and murder in school has happened quite recently, good job you took an example from near our homes, this makes it easier to realize.

    Overall, your blog is quite interesting, easy to read (except for the part about the blackmailing law), history of the writer wasn’t very didn’t add anything to your story, and your opinion could have been a bit longer, but I like the overall story and it was excellent you put something in it which happened recently (in Holland). One more thing I think your mark isn’t going to be higher if you put in music the teacher likes, I’ve got a name for that: you are a suck up.

  2. Dear Hessel,

    Your blogpost does not meet the requirements for this assignment. To be more specific, your word count is 714 including your theft act quote. Since quotations do not count towards the final word count I am afraid you will need to rewrite this post as soon as possible to meet the required 800 (10% margin) words. You are stuck at 596 words when leaving out your quote, so please rewrite and make sure you meet the minimum of 720 words. If I can offer you a word of advice, focus on characters, events, themes your book rather than your topic of writing.

    For now I have entered a 1 for your first blogpost, this to ensure you will take care of your post as soon as possible.

    Please email me at halbookblog@gmail.com once you are ready to have your first post graded.

    Kind regards,
    Bram van der Kruk

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