I took a small break again with C&P, reading a series of books in both fiction and non-fiction. And then jumped back in last night. According to my new Kindle, it will take me another 6h to finish it, although there is extra info in the ebook file, so the estimate may be off.
The big element of the last 10% has been the actual “crime” from the title. What began as a thought experiment for him becomes reality when an irresistible opportunity to limit his risk presents itself. He keeps telling himself that he can’t do it, he’d never go through with it, but when the hour is upon him, he rushes through all the steps with no time to think or second guess himself. Although he does have time to wonder about why so many criminals leave clues behind.
…[he] had been extremely occupied by a single question; why are almost all crimes so badly concealed and so easily detected, and why do almost all criminals leave such obvious traces? He had come gradually to many different and curious conclusions, and in his opinion the chief reason lay not so much in the material impossibility of concealing the crime, as in the criminal himself. Almost every criminal is subject to a failure of will and reasoning power by a childish and phenomenal headlessness, at the very instant when reason and caution are most essential. It was his conviction that this eclipse of reason and failure of will power attacked a man like a disease, developed gradually and reached its highest point just before the perpetration of the crime, continued with equal violence at the moment of the crime and for longer or shorter time after, according to the individual case, and then passed off like any other disease.
Interestingly, his reason holds but he fails to plan for a contingency of someone else arriving home or of other visitors coming too. The first is corrected by ruthlessness, while the second is more by luck than careful reason. “When reason fails, the devil helps”, or so the narrator believes.
Yet despite his belief in his superiority of mind, he fails to plan for a bunch of rather basic elements afterwards. Blood stains. Hiding loot. The intrusion of others.
By the time I reached the 25% mark, his fever seems to have resolved itself and the original need for his crime (economic) has been relatively eliminated. He has work, he has friends, his prospects are improving. Yet he has committed the crime that will plague his mind in the weeks and months to come.