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Aiding and Abetting

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,132 ratings  ·  183 reviews
In Aiding and Abetting, the doyenne of literary satire has written a wickedly amusing and subversive novel around the true-crime case of one of England’s most notorious uppercrust scoundrels and the “aiders and abetters” who kept him on the loose.

When Lord Lucan walks into psychiatrist Hildegard Wolf’s Paris office, there is one problem: she already has a patient who says
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 12th 2002 by Anchor (first published 2000)
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Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a man walks into the office of psychiatrist, Dr Hildegard Wolf, claiming to be Lord Lucan, she is surprised; not least as she already has another patient claiming the same thing. It turns out that Dr Wolf has her own dubious past and, soon, the Lucan’s are threatening her own career and comfortable life in Paris.

This is an interesting take on the Lucan case, which sees Dr Wolf first running from the two men who claim to be Lord Lucan, before taking the offensive. There is much about the ‘ai
Dhanaraj Rajan
One of the Spark's books which is not that Sparkian. And so, I was bit disappointed.

It was racy and at times witty. Yet, something was missing.

The climax was a let down. Or at least, that was my feel. Spark was capable of producing a better one or executing the present climax in a livelier way. spark must have been in a hurry to finish the work.

I look for Catholic/Christian themes and discussions in every Spark book. I think, this book had such themes in a suggestive manner. And they could very
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
When I saw this book in the library, I had the vague notion that Muriel Spark was one of the names on those "Authors You Should Know" lists, and thus I should probably read something by her. After having finished this book, my feeling is that the name "Muriel Spark" is appealing in and of itself, and that's probably why I remembered it. I was not impressed with her.
I should clarify that the book was fine. I mean, I read the whole thing, and it was fine. If you like light-hearted mysteries, you'd
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
An amusing idea that never becomes a novel.
Muriel's dizzy POV on the real-life murder of a nanny by UKs Lord Lucan, who intended to kill his wife. Spark backs herself into a corner and doesn't know how to get out. The result is some Waughish cannibalism. It serves Lucan (or his double) right for having a Good Time. The missing Lucan has now been declared dead, btw. So is this novella.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Read as part of Spark's Satire

This book takes the well known mystery of the disappearance of Lord Lucan as a starting point, imagining how he might have ended up and contrasting his story with that of his psychologist, whose past also involves secrets - she made money by faking stigmata, the double he hires to help cover his tracks and various pursuers. Once again there are farcical elements, and perversely given that this is much newer than the other books in the Spark's Satire collection, her
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is only the second Muriel Spark book I've read, but I find her writing delightful. Her sense of humor shines darkly. This one starts off with a psychiatrist who first makes her patients listen to her story. And the subtle layering and duplicity of her characters... (sigh)...

Without giving too much away, the story revolves around the true story of an earl who disappears after committing murder and attempted murder (he was aiming for his wife, mistook the nanny for her, then didn't have time
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Delightfully wicked humor: classic Spark. Fictional literary treatment of two legendary criminals, a fraud and a murderer, who really existed and somehow disappeared.
I'm planning a trip to Scotland in the not-so-distant future and so I thought it would be a good time to familiarize myself with the work of Muriel Spark. I gather from the little I've read about Ms. Spark thus far that Aiding and Abetting is not one of her more “important” works, but as a slim volume of truly imaginative, satirical, and irreverent fun, I think it really holds up. For a work of less than 200 pages, there's just an incredible amount of plot—three equally creative and crazily spir ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Deeply odd. Though it's quick-paced and grappling with some fascinating topics, none of the characters behave like real people. Then toward the end there's an abrupt left turn featuring a fictional African country that practices cannibalism. I found it, if not outright racist, deeply uncomfortable. A bizarre little book.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: group-rttc
Muriel Spark based this novel on the real-life disappearance of Lord Lucan in 1974. Following the murder of their nanny, and an assault on his estranged wife, Lucan disappeared. Many 'sightings' followed over the years, but none of these could be verified. Much of the reporting at the time centred on Lucan's wealthy friends, the 'Aiders and Abetters', who were believed to have helped him escape and supported him in his exile.

In this novel, Lucan appears in Paris at the office of a psychiatrist,
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I would prefer it if I could have given this one 3.5. I quite enjoyed it, but it's not a favourite.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An unsatisfactory, slight and somewhat silly take on the Lord Lucan case.

No one is quite what they seem in this book. Therapist Dr Hildegard Wolf, was once a fake stigmatic, who now charges her clients $1,500 for a 45 minute session during which she mainly talks about herself. She is now treating not one but two patients who both claim to be Lord Lucan.

The Lucan part of the story focuses on the aiders and abetters. What were the motives of those who were motivated to keep him from justice?

Courtney H.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
If I had reviewed this book right away, I probably would have given it four stars. It was concise, well written novel with a fascinating premise. Spark took two late-twentieth century legends -- the scandal surrounding the disappearance of Lord Lucan after he murdered his children's nanny and attempted to murder his wife; and a fake stigmata -- and wove them together in a bizarre dark comedy mystery novel, set 25 years after Lucan's disappearance. It lost a star because it proved to be surprisin ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and even though some of the main characters were quite unpleasant I became pretty fond of them whilst reading.

I haven't considered reading any Muriel Spark novels before (I saw my sister had read this and thought it sounded good),but I'll certainly be looking at more of her oeuvre.
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spark, Muriel. AIDING AND ABETTING. (2001). *****. I’m a rabid Spark fan, so I don’t know how I missed this one – but I did. It is a short novel that embodies all of Dame Spark’s greatest qualities: subtle humor, attention to plot movement, and, most of all, characterization. She has done a take-off on a true crime that occurred in England in the 1970s, where Lord Lucan accidentally murdered his childrens’ nanny while actually trying to kill his wife. He subsequently disappeared from England, pr ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book with a group of friends, and we agreed that it was entertaining and well written. It only gets three stars, though, because it's largely forgettable. It raises some interesting questions in terms of characters' motivations, as well as some moral questions for the reader. Overall, I'd say this is a diverting read but not terribly deep. In addition, I found the ending problematic, but can separate the last 10 pages from the book as a whole.

Also, I confess that as the daughter and
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I'm not sure what it is about based on true story books that captures my interest. This one certainly pushed my curiosity button. Nothing like murder and on the run to get the ball rolling ... by the 7th Earl of Lucan no less! His unsolved mysterious disappearance made for the perfect base for imaginative minds to explore and so it was for Ms Spark, I assume. And what a tale! I found this to be quite entertaining and odd take. The mind games was definitely present. I especially enjoyed all
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookcrossing, ho-hum
Given to me by my Jojosmommyo with the firm endorsement of "Meh". She went on to mention that Hazrabai has read it and hadn't thought that much of it, as well. Not Spark's best effort. I can only concur with my two wise sister-in-laws.

Spark is usually a winner. Crisp, clean, funny, clever. The premise of this, particularly, is good, since it is based on the real life mystery of what the heck happened to the 7th Earl of Lucan (aka "Lucky" Lucan? Add in an imposter and a fake Bavarian stigmatic,
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mayhem
"From all accounts and police records of the affair of the seventh Earl of Lucan he was an extremely arrogant person. Arrogance is incurable."

Two handsome Englishmen begin seeing a German psychiatrist in Paris. Each claims to be Lord Lucan, a notorious (and real-life) earl who murdered his children's nanny in an attempt to murder his estranged wife and then fled the country. Each claims the other is an impostor. And each knows that the psychiatrist is living under a fake name because she is a fr
The brilliance of Muriel Spark extends to 'Aiding & Abetting'. Written in tightly packed prose, the book is splendid. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was I loved a few of her other works a LOT more, not because I loved this less.

Lucan was an Earl who was wanted in the murder of his nanny (accidentally) when he was trying to murder his wife in 1974. Nice man indeed. And he disappeared. The book speculates about Lucan's whereabouts, his present day in the 1990s and his constant
Otro autor rescatado del olvido por @labestiaequilatera . “Los encubridores es una novela basada en un hecho real: el caso policial quizá de mayor trascendencia en toda la historia de Inglaterra, que ocurre en el seno de la aristocracia. El 7 de noviembre de 1974 lord Lucan mata a Sandra Rivett, la niñera de sus hijos, confundiéndola con su esposa. Lucan se fuga y jamás puede ser encontrado por la justicia británica. Veinticinco años más tarde se presenta en el consultorio de la psicoanalista má ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Though I wanted to know who (Lucky or Walker) won (survived), and anticipated all were from fraud Dr. Wolf’s head hypnotized by Dr. Jacobs, and even suspected Jean-Pierre... I couldn’t care more. The book is short, so is her readers attention span, aided by a boring case, abetted by psychiatrist’s pseudo mystery.
The two books I've read by Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Driver's Seat, were wonderfully tight and hard-hitting short novels. Even though this book is a slim 176 pages, it feels like a sprawling, unfocused tale that can't decide what it's trying to say. No one ever talks about Spark's later work (this is her second to last published book, from 2000), and this may be why.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
I did not care for this story. The characters are thin and the plot of moderate interest. Spark's prose is fabulous, and this sole strength kept me reading.

This experience makes me anxious about Spark's other late-20C works. I loved "Bachelors," and I still think about it months after putting it up. Both this and "Driver," however, didn't do much for me. I hope that her work does not follow a downward trend with later publication dates.
Nov 26, 2011 rated it liked it
If one wished, Aiding and Abetting could be regarded as a slight whimsy. The novel could also be regarded as parlor game for deception and dark humor. We meet three charatcrs, two of whom are frauds and the third a muderer, albeit an aristocrat. This situation is pondered and then two other characters are inroduced with a shared purpose of locating the murderer. A tissue of circumstances unfold and the novel ends.
Interesting premise, though I found the story drawn out by about halfway through. Lord Lucan's narcissistic charm came through quite well, with his therapist serving as a great antagonist; Davina Porter's narration works well here.
Mar 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Crisp, wickedly morbid prose. Why isn't Spark recognized as a great novelist? A bookseller once asked me if I thought it was because she was a woman. An interesting thought. I am not sure. I only know that longer does not equal better and that Spark's slender volumes are delicious.
Amy Gentry
Apr 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spinster-lit
Minor Spark, but still delightful.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Книжка, як то кажуть, на любителя, ще й переклад від пана з невимовним прізвищем не надто сподобався. Хоча й коротка, а знудила мене добряче.
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A delightful comic novella. Using an actual murder case as her jumping-off point, Muriel Spark posits what might have happened to the 7th Earl of Lucan after his disappearance in 1974. While she sticks to the historical record for details pre-1974, from the point of his disappearance on, it's all outrageous conjecture, in which an artisan who refurbishes antiques teams up with a false stigmatic-turned-psychiatrist, a physician from Africa, an old friend of the murderer and the daughter of one of ...more
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Reading the 20th ...: Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark (Oct/Nov 2018) 34 14 Dec 07, 2018 04:31AM  
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Dame Muriel Spark, DBE was a prolific Scottish novelist, short story writer, and poet whose darkly comedic voice made her one of the most distinctive writers of the twentieth century. In 2008 The Times newspaper named Spark in its list of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Spark received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1965 for The Mandelbaum Gate, the Ingersoll Foundation TS Eli
“She wasn't a person to whom things happen. She did all the happenings.” 1752 likes
“People who want to write books do so because they feel it to be the easiest thing they can do. They can read and write, they can afford any of the instruments of book writing such as pens, paper, computers, tape recorders, and generally by the time they have reached this decision, they have had a simple education.” 4 likes
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