Payment Deferred was one of the most thrilling reads of my life, and, most annoyingly, it was written when CS Forrester was still in his early twenties.
Good grief: such twistedness of character and plot, such command of tone, at such a young age!
(By the way, CS Forester's real name was Cecil Louis Troughton Smith. Would CL Troughton Smith have been less successful and famous than CS Forester?)
Anyway, the set-up for Payment Deferred is that a rather unpleasant and resentful bank clerk and family man, William Marble, is visited by a young relation who brings with him an irresistible temptation.
This thrilling opening ends with a body being buried in William Marble's garden where it gradually poisons the mind of the murderer and the lives of the resident family. Even longed-for wealth, which luckily comes along, can't draw the poison and increasing fear that rises from the hastily-dug grave.
There was capital punishment in England in those days.
There's something particularly horrifying about feeling the terror of an evil person, and this book brings that most vividly to life.
It also ends in the most terrible and haunting way.
Is justice done to the guilty?
Well...in a way, yes. But it's a way you'll never forget.
Word To Use Today: guilty. This word comes from the Old English gylt, but where the word came from before that is a mystery.