Monday, January 9, 2012
No Comebacks - Frederick Forsyth
Name of the story: No Comebacks
Author: Frederick Forsyth
Source: No Comebacks
Story Number: 9
Frederick Forsyth is probably most famous for his novel ‘The Day Of The Jackal’ which won the Edgar for the best novel in 1972. He has a number of other noteworthy novels to his credit but his short story collection is rarely spoken off. It contains 10 skillfully plotted stories with an ultimate twist in the end. I pick the title story in the collection as this suits best my definition of a fine story.
Mark Sanderson is one of the richest bachelors in London who has the habit of eventually getting whatever he wants. He always wanted to have only one woman as his wife but that lady is married to another man and stays in another country. A chance meeting ignites his passion for her, he courts her for a week and ends up proposing to her when she is about to leave for Spain, which the lady politely declines saying that her husband in Spain needs her more than he needs her. She agrees that she would marry him had it not been for her husband.
After brooding over for weeks, he decides that she has to be his wife and this obsession with the lady turns into madness and what follows is a detailed plot to assassinate the husband. He first hires a detective agency to learn every detail about his intended victim, gets a new house for himself under an assumed name, does research to find a mercenary team in England, through the team in England he hires a top notch assassin from another country so that the assassin doesn’t identify the very famous personality that he is in London, all breathtakingly told in the same style as the jackal who plots the assignation of the French president in the famous novel. The assassin then has to think off a way to smuggle a gun into Spain and he finally carries out his execution successfully at the end of 3 weeks. The killer and the client meet for the final payment and there in the last line of the story, the client gets the biggest jolt of his life as does the reader!