Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Forensic obsessions

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 29 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4449
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

My favourite crime novel is Malice Aforethought (1931) by Francis Iles. In this book the henpecked general practitioner Dr Bickleigh gets away with a murder he did commit but is hanged for one that he did not.

However, this plot had been used before—by an author whose brother was a doctor and who had once been a medical student himself. However, he did not complete his studies because, unlike quite a few who did complete theirs, he realised he was not cut out to be a doctor. He was C S Forester (1899-1966), whose real name was Cecil Louis Troughton Smith, and who became best known for the Horatio Hornblower …

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