Once again superb writing -- and an elusive theme. Gerald Kersh can write as few of his contemporaries write; but he writes...

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PRELUDE TO A CERTAIN NIGHT

Once again superb writing -- and an elusive theme. Gerald Kersh can write as few of his contemporaries write; but he writes on themes that lack appeal for the average reader. To be sure, in the process of his story -- now as before -- he gives one a sense of being taken right into the mood, the tempo, the atmosphere of his tale, if, at the end, one has a sense of dissatisfaction, incompleteness. The scene is London, beginning with the present but shifting back to 25 years ago, when ""the Bar Bacchus was one of the three most popular meeting places"". This is the story behind its death, -- a grim story told with an odd, almost light, detachment, a story without an end in the ordinary sense. A child has been raped and strangled in the fog and there is no clue to the criminal. Habituees of the Bar discuss the crime endlessly; one person decides to do something about it, and, in her bungling, amateur way starts an investigation, then stages a party of some sixty people, one of whom she is convinced is guilty. She gets her guests tight and the Murderer -- with whom the readers have lived for part of the story -- comes to the point of confession, his sense of drama overcoming his caution. But circumstances shift the focus from him -- the moment passes. And again, the next day, he is almost trapped, by an odd incident of a vague, suspicious, little woman who shows her cards but lets the chance slip by, so that the last threat to his freedom vanishes.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1947