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4. DEATHDAY

To all appearances Adam Crosse is a normal, well-integrated member of society; respected provincial journalist, nice new-town home, attractive wife, jovial disposition. But in fact, behind his front of self-assurance, Crosse is sensitive, frustrated, introspective - a mass of neuroses and self-protective fantasies. Never a Romeo, is sex-life is now a failure; he is a hypochondriac and tranquilizer addict; it needs just the one final nudge to push him over the edge.

That nudge comes with his chance discovery that his wife, Lydia, has a lover - and worse, that she evinces no trace of remorse over his finding out. Crushing his self-esteem, she shrugs off the affair as a necessity to be blamed on his sexual inadequacy. Casually she tells him to adjust the best way he can and now please to get out of her kitchen as she has the Saturday morning cake to bake....

The next thing Adam Crosse really knows is that he has smashed in her skull with a monkey-wrench from the garage.

It is an appalling shock, but not so extreme as to exclude self-preservation and the contrivance of a highly ingenious alibi. As a journalist, he is able to fake a letter from a fictitious reader named Quilter, whose address he claims to have been searching for all morning, searching in vain, while indeed the very letter must have been a ruse by the real murderer to get him out of the house.

Fortunately for Cross, the door to the burning oven was left open and had affected the cadaver's temperature. Because this confuses the time of death, the police are initially prepared to believe the Quilter alibi. Indeed, Crosses, almost starts to believe it too - until Quilter himself appears......

Quilter is wildly indignant. He is also extremely knowledgeable about Crosse, his habits and his weaknesses. Gradually he starts to destroy not only Crosse's alibi but the whole substance of his personality. On and on, forcing him step by inevitable step to the final act of liberation - the one desperate thrust with the knife that will rid him of Quilter - and in the process, his own life.......

Dramatised by Brian Hayles from the novel by Angus Hall.

Directed by Raymond Menmuir.


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