Edward Powell is forced to live with his formidable Aunt Mildred at her home Brynmawr, outside the small, “and entirely frightful” town of Llwll, Wales. For a man of refined tastes forced to be isolated from any form of intellectual stimulation, outside of his French novels, is intolerable. But as his sole guardian and trustee, Aunt Mildred holds the purse-strings, and of course working would be beneath him.
I suppose, of course, I might take up some degrading occupation, but I think anyone could see that that is impossible for me – quite, quite impossible. I have indeed tried my hand at a little modern verse, but there are too few cultivated souls to make this commercially successful, and indeed I am rather glad it is so.”
Edward determines that the only means of escaping his bleak life is to arrange for Aunt Mildred to have an accident, leaving him free to live the life he deserves. And so, he develops a very clever plan. Unfortunately, Aunt Mildred has the gall to survive. Undeterred, he soon formulates a second plan…followed by a third.
Edward serves as the narrator, venting his frustrations and chronicling his plans in his diary. He is also selfish, pompous, and superior; not at all likable, and actually rather loathsome. Trust me and do not be put off by this. Hull’s dark, dry wit soon has you appreciating the irony to be found in Edward’s narration, as well as his continued attempts to do away with his aunt.
I believe you can see where this is going, but if you don’t you are in for quite the surprise. Hull’s premise is very simple, the mystery isn’t who will be killed, but will Edward succeed and get away with it? What follows on from there is a highly entertaining read filled with humor and satire. I thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommend it.
My Judgement – 4.5/5