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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) HUGE SPOILER - Kevin Malone
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 10:56:25 +0000

If my personal reluctance to spell out the ending of a good story is
making other people reluctant to post, or just plain annoyed, it's
obviously time for me to stop standing on my principles and sit on them.
Here's the explanation I posted to Roy: if you don't want "Kevin Malone"
spoilt for you, look away now!


>     I hope these questions were not rhetorical. :-)  If there was no
> then who is Kevin Malone? Where did (does) the money come from to buy
> maintain the estate?
Well, Kevin Malone tells us that he was an orphan and that he made his
own fortune, and I don't seen any reason to disbelieve him.

> If any of the testimony of the narrative is to be
> trusted, then a maid named Betty Malone was murdered and someone, who
> may not have been the murderer, committed suicide in consequence
> Why was she murdered, and by whom?
Again, I don't see any reason not to go along with what we're told. The
elder Mr Malone killed Betty Malone, and then himself. Why did he kill
her? I don't think we're supposed to know for sure, and I don't think it

matters, but a lover's tiff seems a likely cause. Maybe he just didn't
like women very much - as you say, there's a certain element of misogyny

to the story.

> What bearing does that have on Kevin, or the current "young couple"?

The young couple are there, as is said, as stage properties, to recreate

the house as Malone remembers it. The twist is, those aren't -his-

> Possessed by whom or what? Spoil it for me, by private e-mail if you
> wish.

Kevin Malone is posessed by the elder Mr Malone. (Do we know his first
name? Can't remember, but if not then I suspect it may well have been
Kevin.) That monomaniacal desire to own the big house, to get back to
his lost childhood, isn't his, it's Malone-the-servant's. That's why he
could never be happy as master of the house: in the home he "remembers",

he slept in the servant's annexe.

The subtext of the story is "you can't go home again" - the quote from
Tom Wolfe. I suspect - and this is pure conjecture - that the
inspiration for this story was GW thinking to himself "...or can you?
What if a man was rich enough to buy his own childhood home, and
maintain it just as it was?"

...I could go on, but I think that once you understand the significance
of the last line (and the last line in a good short story is -always-
significant) the story speaks for itself. See what you think.

All the best!


Postscript: Peter Westlake sent me an e-mail in which he arrived at very

much the same conclusions, which reassures me a little that I know what
talking about for once. He adds the interesting idea that Marcella too
been posessed - by the ghost of Betty Malone. I'm going to have to
re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read the story before I can decide one way
another on that one.

Post-postscript: while trying to convince Roy of my theory, I remembered

another telling point. Priest says that the body of Betty Malone was
found, and Malone immediately says that she was "buried on the estate."
seems very sure, doesn't he? <g>

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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