Tuesday, March 29, 2022

15. Marion by John Bingham

I found this in my nice little haul of obscure mediocrity (or mediocre obscurity) at Urban Ore.  I sure love the object, though did not have super high expectations.  There was a lot of marketing hype by publishers back then and most of it on the cover itself.  Here we have relatively unknown author John Bingham getting a way bigger font than the actual name of the book.  My daughter thought the book was called "Bingham". 

Turns out it was not a great read.  It's competently even well-written, as so many of these mid-century journalists turned thriller writers were definitely professionals.  It's just that most of the book (as the title states) focuses on his relationship with his wife (Marion) whom he discovers to have lied completely about her past and is a total philanderer.  There is a thriller plot, but it is bookended and just not all that exciting.  I also felt there was a very real plot flaw with the timing, but was too lazy and uninterested to go back and doublecheck. The book is written from the future and jumps around in time (as if the author is recounting the story, telling us where he went wrong).  At one point, the various time narratives cross over in a way that made no sense, so that the discovery of his wife's infidelity happens before another major plot point that is dependent on him not knowing her infidelity.  I can live with that and I may have misread, but though the backstory revelation of how he discovered his wife's true nature was kind of neat (he goes to her hometown to deliver flowers to her father's grave who isn't actually dead), I was just not that interested in his processing of the end of his marriage.  There was also some weird class resentment thrown in that never got developed.

Looks like Bingham was one of these upper class WWII intelligence blokes who turned to writing.  Maybe this was one of his lesser works.

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