A Good Marriage

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"A Good Marriage"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Suspense
Published in Full Dark, No Stars
Publisher Scribner
Media type Hardcover
Publication date 2010

A Good Marriage is a novella by Stephen King, published in his collection Full Dark, No Stars (2010).

Synopsis[edit]

Darcy Anderson has been married to Bob, a Portland, Maine accountant, for 27 years. They have a happy yet humdrum relationship, running a mail order business selling and appraising rare coins. One night, while Bob is away on business, Darcy goes into the garage to search for batteries. When she rummages through Bob's belongings, she stumbles across a pornographic magazine showing sadomasochistic images. Unnerved by the magazine – and the fact that it is in Bob's possession – Darcy finds a secret compartment behind the garage's baseboard and makes a more horrific discovery: a small box containing the ID cards of Marjorie Duvall, a victim of a serial killer called "Beadie".[1]

Bob calls Darcy and senses her distress; she lies about the reason for her anxiety. Afterwards, she Googles Beadie and cross-checks Bob's business records with the locations of the murders, finding that Bob was within the proximity of most of the crimes. When Darcy wakes up the next morning, she finds that Bob has deduced her discovery and returned home early. He proceeds to calmly explain his insanity to his horrified wife, recounting how he and a sadistic friend named Brian Delahanty – nicknamed "BD", from which Beadie's name was derived – planned a school shooting as teenagers. Delahanty was hit by a truck before they could carry it out, but Bob claims he had "infected" him with "certain ideas", resulting in his homicidal urges.[1]

Bob claims that after Darcy married him and helped raise his children, his murderous alter ego never drove him to kill again for several years. He pleads to Darcy to put the matter behind them, for the sake of herself and their family. After mulling it over, Darcy feigns an agreement to do so, on the condition that he bury Duvall's ID cards behind their house. Bob believes Darcy has put the truth behind her, when in fact she is trying to think of a way to stop him from killing again. A few months after Darcy's discoveries, an elated Bob finds a rare 1955 doubled-die cent, and the couple goes out to Portland to celebrate. When Bob becomes drunk from champagne, Darcy devises a plan to murder him.[1]

Upon arriving home, Darcy has Bob fetch some Perrier while she waits for him upstairs, ostensibly for sex. However, when Bob arrives, Darcy pushes him down the stairs, breaking his arm, neck, and back. She then manages to shove a plastic bag and a dishwiper down his throat, killing him. Darcy manages to convince the authorities and the children that Bob had died in a drunken accident, and isn't suspected of committing any foul play. Darcy assumes the ordeal is over.[1]

However, not long after Bob is buried, a retired detective named Holt Ramsey visits the house. Ramsey investigated the Beadie murders and had questioned Bob after the death of another victim, Stacey Moore, who worked at a restaurant that Bob frequented on his business trips. Ramsey tells Darcy that he suspected Bob for the murders, since his Chevrolet Suburban was seen in the neighborhood of each victim. Darcy realizes that Ramsey has figured out her role in Bob's own death. Once she admits the truth, Ramsey assures her that she "did the right thing" and leaves; before he does, she tells him about Delahanty. Darcy realizes how Bob was close to being caught and wasn't as smart as he thought he was. She also finds that she can now be at peace with herself.[1]

Background[edit]

In the afterword for Full Dark, No Stars, King stated that the character of Bob Anderson was inspired by Dennis Rader, the infamous "BTK Killer". Like Rader, Anderson gruesomely tortures and kills his victims, then mails his victims' identification to the police; Anderson's victims, like Rader's, are women and children. Also like Rader, Anderson is a pillar of the community who is well regarded by his friends and colleagues. King said that he felt inspired to write the story after the public outcry against Rader's wife, Paula, who had been married to him for almost thirty years yet seemed to have no knowledge of his crimes.

Film adaptation[edit]

On May 19, 2012, it was announced that Will Battersby and Peter Askin are producing an adaptation of A Good Marriage with Askin directing Stephen King's screenplay of his own novella.[2] On September 11, 2012, Joan Allen was announced as the lead in the film.[3]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e King, Stephen (2010). Full Dark, No Stars. Scribner. 
  2. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (19 May 2012). "Atlas bears Stephen King thriller A Good Marriage". Screendaily. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  3. ^ Kit, Borys (9 November 2012). "Joan Allen Closes Deal to Star in Stephen King Adaptation 'A Good Marriage'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-12-17.