2010. 101. Aiding and Abetting

Aiding and Abetting, Muriel Spark

         This slim novel is my second ever Spark (though I’ve read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie a number of times), and it is one of her last novels.  It’s certainly not up to Brodie standards, but it’s nonetheless a pretty interesting, if slight, novel.  It’s Spark’s version of the Lord Lucan case,* and she uses the novel to play with notions of guilt and innocence, and mostly to examine what on earth led Lucan’s friends to cover up his terrible crime.  Satirizing the warped morality of the upper class, Spark creates a complicated what if situation where a famous psychologist (herself with a secret criminal past) finds herself treating not one, but two putative Lucans, each who claim that he is the real thing.  The plot twists off from there, but Spark manages to come up with a quasi-plausible version of what life would be like for a man like Lucan (if he even is still alive).  Again, it’s not Brodie, but it’s interesting.  Probably even more so for Brits, for whom both the Lucan story, and the dimwitted aristocracy have more resonance. 

*For the non-Brits, I found the following “the seventh Earl of Lucan disappeared on November 7, 1974, leaving behind the battered body of his children's nanny and a beaten wife. Widely covered in the press, his sensational story has had a surprisingly long half-life, and the speculation about his whereabouts has never quite died out.” 

Categories:  Fiction, Library Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017