Book summary: The Nice and the Good

1968 BY IRIS MURDOCH

John Ducane, a respected Whitehall civil servant, is asked to investigate the suicide of a colleague. As he pursues his inquiry, he uncovers a shabby, evil world of murder, blackmail, and black magic. He begins to feel more trapped than trapping.

In contrast to a stagnant summer in London, Octavian and Kate Gray’s adoring community on the Dorset coast seems to offer Ducane refuge, but even here the after-effects of violence poison an atmosphere already electric with adolescent quarrels and intrigue. After a swim into the underworld, Ducane begins to realize that niceness is not enough.

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