Blue Hen, Feb 2003, 24.95, 352 pp.
Professor Evan Birch is the chairman of the Philosophy Department at Pear College, an area of study that has very little student enrollment. He's happily married to his wife Ellen who works at the Institute for Private studies. They have identical twin ten-year-old boys Adam and Zed who give them very little trouble. They could be the role model of the idyllic American family until Detective Robert Malloy questions Evan concerning the disappearance of a sixteen year old girl.
Joyce Bonner was last seen on August 23 in the information booth at a local party where she worked. An eyewitness reports that a gray car with a license plate starting with EZ was seen there with a man inside. Evan admits he was there, but insisting he was only formulating lessons for his class. The police doubt his statement and they repeatedly question him. Soon his friends, faculty members and family believe where there's smoke there's fire and question his innocence. Whatever the police finally determine, Evan realizes the stigma will always remain with him because people have long memories of the negative.
Taken from the headlines, the protagonist's guilt or innocence in the disappearance of the teenager is almost irrelevant because the media, his family and his co-workers have already convicted him whether he is innocent or not. Mindful of the rush to judgment to unfairly hang Richard Jewel a hero at the Atlanta Olympics, and apparently the current Anthrax investigation of Dr. Steven Hatfill, THE SPINNING MAN shows how lives can be ripped apart just by being a suspect in a criminal investigation.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner