The Last of Philip Banter
John Franklin Bardin
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The 1947 cult classic from acclaimed crime writer John Franklin Bardin, now available for the first time in eBook edition.
Philip Banter is a little too fond of drink, and his marriage isn't what it should be. He's also troubled by a penchant for forgetting. That doesn't mean he's losing his mind.
Then Philip finds a manuscript entitled "Confession" in his office. He reads about a surprise dinner party his wife held, of the conversation that took place, and —to his horror—of his own infidelity. But the "confession" turns out to be a prophecy, accurate in almost every detail.
Is he the victim of a conspiracy to drive him mad, or did he type the manuscript himself? As the "confession" grows lengthier and more destructive, can he find the willpower to resist its terrifying inevitability?
it can be the end result of a driving fear of impotency. However, by itself, it can hardly be regarded as a sign of insanity – unless it attains the proportions of satyriasis.’ ‘Of what?’ asked Dorothy. ‘Satyriasis. Abnormal, excessive sexuality. Fortunately very rare.’ Dorothy thought for a moment. ‘There are other signs, too.’ ‘Yes?’ ‘Philip disappears.’ ‘Disappears. What do you mean?’ ‘He did it only last night. We had dinner together. Afterwards, we sat together for a while,
once he decided he would be frank. Sometimes it was wisest to lay all one’s cards on the table. But, although candour was his earnest desire, when Philip spoke he found his words taking a devious path. ‘I am disturbed,’ he began, ‘greatly disturbed. But not about myself or anything that has happened to me.’ He paused after saying that and wondered at how he could resolve one moment to be frank and yet be so incapable of simple honesty the next. ‘I’ve come to you about someone I know who… who is
words would render their truth harmless, ‘it has remained a part of me, yet apart from me. It arises again and again and I re-swallow it as I might my heart’s bile. I must continue to try to reclaim that which I can never assimilate.’ (Except by wild rationalizations, by catch-as-catch-can plausibilities, by the butterfly nets of reason, her conscience added.) Each time she had beaten back her suspicion in this way, had paced the floor and wrung her hands, had argued back and forth with
desperately. Then he rushed out of the door and across the hall to the bathroom. He thought he could hear Brent laughing. Later, after he had finished dressing, he went into the small kitchen. Brent was having breakfast; she poured him some black coffee and offered him some toast. Philip drank a little of the coffee. ‘I’m afraid you’ve been terribly inconvenienced,’ he said. ‘That is an understatement,’ she said coldly. ‘I don’t know what made me do it.’ ‘The only reason I did not call
and while they looked at it he told them of Brent’s theory. He said that he found that he could accept every part of it as a theory except the basic premise that he had been writing the ‘Confession’ himself. To accept this was to admit that he was mad. And, although yesterday he had almost convinced himself of his own insanity, by now he had sufficiently recovered from his nightmarish experience to fight the idea. ‘For one thing,’ he said, and he looked directly at Dr Matthews, ‘too many people