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Malice Aforethought (1931) by Francis Iles

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Malice Aforethought is a novel written by Anthony Berkeley (under the pseudonym Francis Iles) and first published in 1931.

Hitchcock apparently wanted to film an adaptation of the novel with Alec Guinness playing the role of "Dr Bickleigh". It was the opening line of the novel which intrigued Hitchcock the most:

Hitchcock's introduction from ''Once Upon a Midnight'' (1945)
It was not until several weeks after he had decided to murder his wife that Dr. Bickleigh took any active steps in the matter.

Despite not filming the novel, Hitchcock did produce a two unbroadcast radio pilots of the story in the mid-1940s, under the titles Once Upon a Midnight (1947) and The Alfred Hitchcock Show (circa 1947).

The novel was eventually serialised by the BBC in 1979[1], and later by ITV in 2005[2].

A radio adaptation was broadcast in December 1975 by CBS Radio Mystery Theater.


  1. Internet Movie Database
  2. Internet Movie Database