Payment Deferred

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
First edition (publ. Bodley Head)

Payment Deferred is a crime novel by C.S. Forester, first published in 1926.

William Marble is a bank clerk living in south London, desperately worried about money and unable to control his wife Annie's spending. One evening without warning they are visited by his recently orphaned and very rich young nephew, James Medland, who has a large amount of cash on him. Unable to resist the opportunity put in his way, William Marble sends his wife to bed early that night, saying that he wants to talk business and suggests she pleads a headache so as not to seem unsociable. He then slips poison in his nephew's drink, the latter dies and William buries him in the back garden under cover of darkness that night.

Some lucky foreign currency speculation with his ill-gotten gains brings William Marble untold fortune. Annie assumes at first that her husband was given or lent the money by James, and she says that now they can afford it, she wants them to move to a better house with an attractive garden. He is unable to move for fear of anyone discovering the terrible secret, and his character is transformed by what he has done. Eventually she stumbles on the terrible truth, but feeling that her husband still loves her, despite their dreary life together, she keeps her own counsel. But when Annie discovers that her husband has been having an affair, she is in despair. She succumbs to influenza, and is resigned to her own death; when nature does not take its course, she commits suicide by drinking the same poison that William used to murder his nephew. The doctor calls in the police, and the fate William has so long dreaded comes to pass when he is hanged for her murder.

The novel was made into a 1931 Broadway play and a 1932 film, both starring Charles Laughton as William Marble.

External links[edit]