by Graham Greene
A small time Brighton gang, led by Pinkie, a nasty youth with ageless eyes, kills a man. But this man just befriended Ida, a breezy, confident woman, who determines to set things Right. Pinkie must kill again, and marries a very young girl to prevent her being a witness.
The “detective” story gives way to an eerie condemnation of the modern world, with its automated machines and various perversions. There’s an (unfought) battle for moral superiority between Pinkie’s twisted Catholic urge for damnation and Ida’s righteous, amoral sense of justice, living life for fun without hurting innocent people. I liked the bleak tone of the book, but the pacing is plodding. There are bits of dark genius, but I found the whole overlong and far from engrossing.