Review: Aiding and Abetting

Muriel Spark (2001)

I read this in an afternoon and loved it. Muriel Spark is still going strong after four decades of great writing, and she’s at the top of her game with this book. Spark conveys more meaning and depth of character in her sparse style than others do in books hundreds of pages long.

Aiding and Abetting is based on the true story of an English aristocrat who fled the country and went into hiding after he murdered his children’s nanny. (He mistook her for his wife.) The story goes that the upper-crust fugitive was harbored by a handful of his peers. Spark infuses the tale with an interesting premise: Her version centers on a psychiatrist who is visited in turn by two gentlemen claiming to be the wanted man. Theirs is not the only mystery–the doctor herself has a secret identity lurking in her past.

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