Book Title : Mrs. Balfame
Author : Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
Genre : Mystery
This novel was first published in 1916.
Atherton has paid most attention to the character development of the protagonist, Mrs. Balfame. Aloof and indifferent, Mrs. Balfame is the respected member of the society in the eastern division of Brabant County. Elsinore was her world. She had been its acknowledged leader.
The story is linear in its third person narration. It begins with the thought of murder of her husband that plays on the mind of Mrs. Balfame. She made up her mind to remove her superfluous husband, David Balfame. She was content to reign in Elsinore as a dignified and irreproachable and well-to-do widow rather than getting a divorce in the typical middle-class community with traditions. Her meticulous plan and it’s execution is interrupted by the hand of fate when her husband gets shot on the very night he was about to be poisoned by his wife. The mystery is all about the murder investigation of David Balfame.
The character of Dwight Rush, who is in love with Mrs. Balfame is well-etched. Rush is a lawyer who is eight years younger than Mrs. Balfame. The emotional complexity of love as perceived by Rush is something that many people would find difficult to fathom. Atherton has successfully unfolded the layers of such inexplicable undercurrents.
The description is vivid and revolves more around the protagonist. The story is well written albeit a bit lengthy by today’s standards. It’s a worthy read for all mystery lovers. It is indeed a page-tuner and I am glad I found this classic.
My rating : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)