It was at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14th, that Ned Frost, chauffeur and crier for the Honorable Mr. Justice Sidney Piggott, found the lifeless form of Justice Piggott. Piggott was a justice of the High Court of Ireland and, after hearing his cases that morning, had retired to his office to finish up paperwork before the start of the court, summer recess. When he did not show up to be taken home, his chauffeur had entered the office and found him dead. When found, Piggott was sitting in his high backed chair. He had been killed by a single karate kick to his chin. There was no sign of a forced entry, nothing ransacked or stolen, no sign of a struggle and no sign of any other bruises to the judge's body.
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Inspector Denis Lennon of the Dublin police and his sergeant, Molly Power, are assigned to the case and when they begin to dig into the Justice's background they find a number of people with reason to kill him. A married couple, the Roundstones, whose art dealership does a brisk business in stolen art. The Justice's ex-wife and son. A very troubled illegitimate son , David Roundstone, whom the Justice has never publicly acknowledged or provided any financial or other support. A mediocre, but ambitious, fellow justice, Albert Singer, who, before entering the legal profession, had served in Britain's SAS (Special Air Services ). The one person in the world who actually liked Justice Piggott, Tony Macklin, an ex-thief, is now dying of cancer in a rural hospice.
The prime suspect through most of the story is David Roundstone, a troubled youth who becomes very delusional when not taking his medication. Isa Roundstone is his mother, but Sidney Piggott, not her husband, was his biological father. What little evidence exists points to David. Making matters worse is that, when he is not taking his medicine as prescribed he becomes delusional and writes vivid accounts of murders which, when he returns to his normal state, he is unsure whether he committed them or just imagined them. Two years prior to Piggott's murder, David write a detailed account of the murder of Justice Piggott – an account that closely mirrored the facts of the real murder.
But, as Lennon and Power dig deeper and learn more about David they not only have increasing doubts as to his guilt but also begin to see him more as a victim than the murderer. They ultimately find the real murderer and prove David's innocence. However, the guilty party is acquitted on a technicality and that would be the end of the story except for that person's violent death shortly afterward. Lennon and Power then solve that murder but, in another unusual plot twist, cannot prosecute that party.
The review of this Book prepared by Chuck Nugent