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Payment Deferred

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  179 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Forester's masterpiece of suspense. A middle-aged bank clerk with a mountain of debt and an extravagant wife commits a murder in secret. Later, a profitable investment brings him a fortune. Haunded by his crime, he suffers an ironic fate in an excellent final twist.
Paperback, 276 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Simon Publications (first published 1926)
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Aug 26, 2013 Poornima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first book by the author. This is dark, psychological suspense involving Marble and his family. Marble commits a murder and is successful in hiding it. A while later, by stroke of luck, he comes into lot of money. He has money now but his life goes into a downward spiral and the story ends in an ironic climax. It is a tale of karmic justice, in ways.

The writing in the book is brilliant. Forester keeps up the tension throughout the story. As a reader, we can 'feel' the anticipation of
Apr 06, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie, Carey
From BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama:
Most famous for his Hornblower series, C.S. Forester wrote three seminal psychological thrillers at the start of his career that took crime writing in a new direction, portraying ordinary, desperate people committing monstrous acts, and showing events spiralling terribly, chillingly, out of control.

In Payment Deferred set in 1926, William Marble, a bank clerk living in south London with his wife Annie and their two children, is desperately worried about money an
Dec 31, 2011 Bert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orgasmic
I'm a sucker for this kind of thing, and this was a beaut. Kind of Therese Raquin-ey, with a dash of Simenon, filled with paranoia, foreboding, lots of drinking and looking out the window at the backyard. Written in the Twenties (pre-Hornblower), it was concise, quietly stylish, and in terms of British noir, quite revelatory. Three yips for C.S.Forester Yip Yip Yip!
Bethany Canaan
For random discovery in a bookshop one day, this little novel was an interesting read. I never knew before that the author of my beloved and incorrigible Hornblower delved into this genre. Although I'm still not exactly sure what genre that is, maybe more thriller then mystery, because from the very first chapter you know all the details of the murder. What makes the story then, is the life of Mr. Marble after he commits this murder, and the way it destroys everything around him. The deed was d ...more
James Eckman
Oct 27, 2016 James Eckman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A bit old and creaky, read Hornblower instead.
Simon Mcleish
Apr 26, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in May 1999.

Most crime novels are about the process of detection. Payment Deferred the novel which made Forester's name, is about the effect that a crime has on the unsuspected criminal.

The Marble family are sinking into debt; their miserable suburban lower middle class existence is about to reach the point when it will have to be exchanged for something even worse, as credit is no longer extended to them, and threats of legal action are being made. If those
Having enjoyed Forester’s wonderful Hornblower adventure novels in my younger years, I had no hesitation to now explore his earlier works classified as noir mysteries. The first he wrote in the 1920s was ‘Payment Deferred’ about the machinations of Mr. Marble, a stuffy and stodgy English bank clerk caught in a predicament of financial embarrassment. Simply put, his wages have not been able to support the cost of his own and his wife’s moderate necessities. His obligation to local merchants have ...more
Jan 14, 2012 rabbitprincess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of well-written suspense, short novels, Hornblower
Shelves: bibliotheque, 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nina Jon
Apr 10, 2013 Nina Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A memorable psychological drama.
I ordered and read this immediately after finishing The Pursued by the same author. If anything I enjoyed it even more.
Poor Mr Marble, he's trapped in a stultifying job and marriage (as he sees it) and drowning in debt. His taste for whiskey doesn't help. Temptation arrives in the form of a wealthy relative, temptation he seizes without a thought for the consequences. Unfortunately for Mr Marble, this novel is a tale of consequences. Rather than the freedom he so
Ant Harrison
Sep 13, 2012 Ant Harrison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
I always thought that C S Forester only wrote seafaring novels; I never associated him with three psychological suspense stories written at the start of his career in the 1920s. And what a find Payment Deferred was.

It's the story of pathetic bank clerk William Marble and his slow, but unremitting descent into madness following the death of his only nephew. This isn't a who done it, but a detailed and haunting account of the effect that murder, money and social class can have on an individual an
Vitor Frazão
Mar 01, 2012 Vitor Frazão rated it liked it
Surpreendentemente bom. É uma daqueles livros em que o final é certo e sabido, mas não deixamos de apreciar a viagem, com bastante schadenfrude perante o destino de Will Marble, que se deixa obcecar pelo medo de ser apanhado pelo crime que cometeu.

É quase impossível simpatizar com as personagens: Will Marble é um escroque da pior espécie, Annie Marble uma mosquinha morta dominada pelo marido, a Winnie Marble uma fedelha, Jim Medlands um lorpa, Madame Collins uma manipuladora interesseira e o
Wendy Unsworth
Feb 26, 2012 Wendy Unsworth rated it it was amazing
I first read this book many years ago and can't even remember how I came across it as, at the time, I only knew C.S. Forrester for his 'Hornblower' series. I thought this was a terrific story and found myself another copy recently to re-read it.
This book was written in the early 1900's, but is the timeless story of a dreadful crime and its far-reaching consequences. When Mr Marble is suddenly presented with an answer to his financial problems he jumps in with both feet. That decision marks the
Bill Lawrence
Aug 24, 2012 Bill Lawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to start reading C S Forester through crime books. I never read any of the Hornblower series (I may now), nor was I interested. I was curious about Forester as a crime writer and this is my second. No surprise that they are well written, but the surprise is the darkness. The narrative is seen from the perspective (not first-person) of Mr Marble, soon to be seen as the criminal who tries to hide and hide from his crime. Interesting to compare with, but a very different style, Pop 1280 ...more
Mar 24, 2009 Seana rated it really liked it
Forester, better known for his Horatio Hornblower series, which I now want to read too, wrote a classic example of British mystery. I'd call it a sort of precursor of Ruth Rendell. Actually, there isn't much mystery about it, it's more a case of putting a person of weak character in a moment of temptation and then watching how it all unravels. Lucidly written. And if you want to find more discussion of classic British crime, among other things, check out Martin Edwards' excellent blog.
Aug 25, 2016 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: old-classics
The expression that money is the route of all evil applies to this work in more ways than one. Mr Marble and his family are living hand to mouth until someone comes along with an answer to his monetary problem. However the way that he solves the problem weights heavily on his mind, so heavily that he does not want people to come into his house and he barely leaves. The pay off is ironic. My expression for this is what goes around comes around. You have to read about Mr. Marble and his poor famil ...more
Aug 30, 2012 Richard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
An exceptional pre-war crime novel in which the murderer is never in doubt. Other than the killer and the reader, however, no one even knows the murder has been committed. An absorbing study of an ordinary man who suddenly, unexpectedly does a terrible thing because he's pressed for money and is then haunted by his guilt and fear of discovery. It seems inevitable he will be found out - but when and how? Tense stuff and highly original.
Oct 05, 2010 Julie added it
This is the third C.S. Forester book that I have read and they are all so very different. The cover was a bit deceiving in its description but C.S. Forester does a great job of describing the madness of his main character. Interesting read but a disappointing ending in that it felt like it just dropped off.
Stephanie Ricker
Sep 01, 2016 Stephanie Ricker rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I had no idea good old C.S. even wrote crime novels. This was advertised as a mystery, but it isn't; the reader knows from the first who committed the murder. The fascination lies in watching the moral decay of the murderer, not in deciphering who committed the crime. Reading this, I was struck by what a good play it would make. Turns out it was both a Broadway play and a movie in the 1930s.
Dec 30, 2010 Academama rated it really liked it
This is pretty good. It's young Forester (I am a Hornblower fan--but this is pre-Hornblower). It's interesting, though. Sort of a fable, almost. I recommend it, although I'm not sure how available it is if you don't have a Devoted Spouse who works in a bookstore.
Mick Scrimshaw
May 27, 2013 Mick Scrimshaw rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! I love crime stories from the 1920's and 30's anyway, but Forester had a knack of really understanding people and getting into their head, and this really was a book I couldn't put down because of that. Loved the ending which I diodn't see coming!
Nov 10, 2015 Abeer rated it liked it
Not that much .. stuffy details ! Boring to read ..
@ Hard copy is still on the library .. uncompleted ..
Victoria Jackson
Apr 08, 2016 Victoria Jackson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
The book synopsis says it all. It is very enjoyable and full of suspense. Very well written. A period piece. He was 26 when he wrote this, one of his first novels.
Jun 08, 2013 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: old style mystery lovers
Shelves: mystery-british
I quite enjoyed this story; quite different from the other CS Forester books, the Horatio Hornblower stories I've read before. Well-paced, gets right into the story. Tense psychological mystery.
Feb 16, 2016 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2015-16-season
Read based solely on the authors reputation and it did not disappoint. A twisty trip down a suburban London street brings an air of impending doom seeping out of the pages.
Walt Ross
Walt Ross rated it did not like it
Oct 30, 2016
Steve rated it liked it
Jun 28, 2010
Roland rated it really liked it
Jul 16, 2012
Jeff Hobbs
Jeff Hobbs rated it it was ok
Aug 21, 2012
Jo rated it it was amazing
Nov 19, 2012
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Cecil Scott Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith, an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of adventure and military crusades. His most notable works were the 11-book Horatio Hornblower series, about naval warfare during the Napoleonic era, and The African Queen (1935; filmed in 1951 by John Huston). His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded t ...more
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