The Heart Of The Matter

The Heart of the Matter is a novel by Graham Greene, first published in 1948. It tells the story of Major Scobie, a British police officer in West Africa during World War II. Scobie is a moral man, devoted to his wife Louise and his job, but he is also deeply flawed. He is an alcoholic, and he is having an affair with a young widow, Helen Rolt.

The novel begins with Scobie's discovery of a smuggling ring in the city of Freetown. He is determined to bring the criminals to justice, but his superiors are more concerned with keeping the peace than with punishing the guilty. Scobie is forced to compromise his principles in order to keep the peace, and this decision leads to a series of tragic events.

Scobie's affair with Helen is discovered by his wife, and she is devastated. She begs him to end the affair, but he is unable to do so. He is torn between his love for Louise and his desire for Helen. Eventually, he decides to stay with Louise, but his guilt and shame drive him to drink more heavily.

Meanwhile, Scobie's investigation of the smuggling ring leads him to a local priest, Father Rank. Rank is a good man, but he is also deeply flawed. He is a gambler and a drunk, and he is involved in the smuggling ring. Scobie is determined to bring Rank to justice, but he is also sympathetic to the priest's plight.

The novel culminates in a dramatic climax in which Scobie is forced to choose between his duty and his conscience. He chooses his conscience, and his decision leads to his death. The novel ends with a reflection on the nature of morality and the power of love.

The Heart of the Matter is a powerful and moving novel. It is a story of love, guilt, and redemption, and it is a testament to the power of the human spirit. It is a timeless classic, and it is sure to remain a favorite for generations to come.