by Bethan Roberts
Penguin. 304 pages, $17.
A LOVE TRIANGLE involving a policeman, his male lover, and the lover’s wife is the subject of Bethan Roberts’ new novel My Policeman. Set in 1950s England, the story was inspired by novelist E. M. Forster’s long-term relationship with policeman Bob Buckingham and his wife May. The novel is currently being made into a major motion picture for release in 2022 starring actor and singer Harry Styles (Dunkirk), actress Emma Corrin (The Crown), and British actor David Dawson.
The story opens in 1999 in Peacehaven, England, where we find Marion, now a retired schoolteacher, nursing her husband Tom and his former lover Patrick Hazelwood, who has now suffered a major, debilitating stroke. She’s writing him a letter, reflecting upon their mutually shared lives of over forty years. She begins with the words: “I no longer want to kill you, because I don’t. What I mean to do is this: write it all down, so I can get it right. This is a confession of sorts … worth getting the details right.”William Burton, a frequent contributor to these pages, is a writer based in Provincetown, Mass.