Summer. 1930. The hottest day of the year. And Dr Bickleigh has murder in mind.
A classic crime masterpiece from 'One of crime fiction's greatest innovators' Independent
'A fascinating insight into a troubled mind, and a gripping thriller' Guardian
On a balmy summer's day in 1930 the great and the good of the county are out in force for the annual, much-anticipated tennis party at the Bickleighs, although not everyone has much enthusiasm for the game. The tennis party exists for other reasons - and charmingly mannered infidelity is now the most popular pastime in the small but exclusive Devonshire hamlet of Wyvern's Cross.
Which is why, in his own garden, the host, Dr Edmund Bickleigh, is desperately fighting to conceal the two things on his mind: a mounting passion for Gwynyfryd Rattery - and the certain conviction that he is going to kill his wife . . .
A fascinating insight into a troubled mind, and a gripping thriller, the novel has been twice adapted for television with Hywel Bennett and Ben Miller in the main part - GUARDIAN
One of crime fiction's greatest innovators - INDEPENDENT
Psychologically convincing and beautifully paced, with a nifty twist at the last minute - THE BOOKSELLER Top 10 Crime Novels to Read Before you Die
With MALICE AFORETHOUGHT Francis Iles created the modern crime novel - Peter Lovesey
We do not believe that one person in ten thousand will foresee the end even in the middle of the last page - Manchester Evening News
This classic crime novel, with its focus on the mindset of a murderer, set the genre in a new direction - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
A pioneer of psychological suspense fiction with a seasoning of cynical wit - MYSTERY SCENE
Francis Iles is the pseudonym for Anthony Berkeley Cox, but it is for his two widely- acclaimed masterpieces, MALICE AFORETHOUGHT and BEFORE THE FACT, both written as Francis Iles, that he is most famous. Iles was also a literary reviewer for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the Guardian. He died in 1971.