This book was made into an award winning film (The Secret Life of Algernon 1997) by the actor John Cullum who co-wrote the screenplay and plays Algernon opposite Carrie-Anne Moss as Madge.

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The details “grisly”, the people “lunatic”, the results, “magnetic”.

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The Secret Life of Algernon Pendleton


© 1973 Russell H. Greenan


Random House USA/Canada 1973

Jacket design: Paul Bacon


ISBN 0-394-48283-2

From The Secret Life of Algernon Pendleton


I brought him back into the parlour and placed him on the butterfly table, got a pair of shears and set about clipping off his heart-shaped leaves. At once, his bravado left him. He yelped in pain and pleaded for mercy, but—and I’m ashamed to admit it—there was no compassion in me. I did away with the slanderer completely, slicing up the stems and the roots, too. And while I performed this savage little immolation, I grunted with satisfaction.

                 No sooner was I finished than I heard a shuffling noise on the second floor and looked quickly up the stairs. It was late in the afternoon of an overcast day, and the hall was deep in shadows. I saw nothing, yet I had a most distinct impression that Madge was there, watching me.

                 I returned my eyes to my handiwork—to the snippets of slaughtered philodendron, and the drops and streaks of sap, like diaphanous blood or bile, which covered the surface of the table.

                 A minute passed—then I said, “Mulch. Compost.”

                 I said it loud enough for her to hear, if she was really standing there. There was no response from the shadows, however.

                 Gathering up the shreds, I threw them into the garbage.

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