This book has two main characters. Georgina (George) Gardener a councillor in her sixties with a degree in psyhology and criminology who becomes interested in the conviction of mentally handicapped man, Howard, in 1970 for the murder of his grandmother, and Dr. Jonathan Hughes, a fellow in European anthropology at London University, who has written a book on twentieth century miscarriages of justice. Howard is one of the cases. George contacts Jonathan in the hopes that he will research further Howard's case, but after an incident at the pub they were to meet in, she finds him arrogant and offensive and decides against it. Both characters carry their share of baggage from their own childhood and it plays a roll in the way they finally proceed to get together to write a book about Howard.
During the research another crime comes to light, that of a 13 year old that went missing a week before Howard's grandmother was murdered. The story twists and turns and bounces back and forth between the two cases until a connection appears of all characters in both cases.
There is a lot of dialog in this book as the two main characters discusses the facts of the case with each other and the people involved. The first part of the book is chapters of Jonathan's book, there is Walters' usual amount of newspaper clippings and plenty of email between the many different characters.
This report prepared by Patg
Berkley, Dec 2004, 10.00, 544 pp.
In 1970 Bournemouth, Dorset, the public is upset by the brutal murder of fifty-seven years old Grace Jefferies. A few days later the police announce that Grace's bizarre twenty-years old grandson Howard Stamp confessed after being held for questioning for thirty-six hours. A year later, a jury convicts Howard. While incarcerated, Howard was abused by his peers and less than two years after his conviction he committed suicide.
Three decades later, sexagenarian councilor George Gardener believes that Stamp was guilty of being retarded and different and never killed his grandmother. Gardener has uncovered evidence that he feels might posthumously exonerate Stamp, but the justice system is satisfied with the neat ending. Gardener learns that thirty something years old anthropologist Dr Jonathan Hughes is researching case studies for a book Disordered Minds that he is writing which includes a chapter on Stamp. Gardner thinks he has an ally who might awaken the public that a travesty occurred. However, will the academic risk his reputation on a dead loner who in many ways reminds him of his own childhood that he prefers to forget?
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner