"When people are living near that deep pit which divides the secure from the insecure- when they see themselves creeping closer and closer to its dead edge - they are apt, however loquacious by nature, to fall into long silences."
Written in 1913, I chose to read this Jack The Ripper inspired novel as it formed the basis of the 1927 Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name. Cards on the table, I am a massive Hitchcock fan and I find it fascinating to compare the source document with the movie. Today, however, we are talking about the book, so let's get back to that.
Delightfully copyright free for many countries, I was able to access an easy to read epub format from feedbooks, but I'm sure there are other free sources should you wish to check this out.
Mr and Mrs Bunting have hit hard times and their financial woes seem miraculously rescued by the appearance of an unusual gentlemen prepared to pay a considerable sum for privacy and lodgings. Mr Sleuth (okay so that made me laugh) appears at a time where the city is whipped into a frenzy over the continuing murders which plague the early hours of the night.
Mrs Bunting's increasing obsession with Sleuth is interestingly played out.Her relationship with her husband deteriorates and the reader is drawn into her confused emotional state. A counterpoint to the growing distance between the previously poor but happy couple is the nascent love story of Mrs Bunting's step daughter, Daisy and policeman Joe Chandler.
The central characters are a delight and while the action takes place in a limited locale - almost like a play - the reader is buffeted along in an entertaining fashion.
To return momentarily to the film version, would be to note that while it captures the increasing tension and the creepiness of Mr Sleuth, the fact that the film is silent means it lacks the in-depth character studies that the book provides. Should you wish to compare both mediums, below is a clip of the silent film.
I've removed one point because there was quite a bit of repetition that could have been excised, but other wise this is 4 out of 5 crazy rippers can't be wrong.