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*Starred Review* The promotional material for former British criminal barrister Tolkien’s second novel (the first, The Final Witness, was published in 2002) shamelessly plays up the fact that the author is the grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien. Enough of this literary-pedigree nonsense. As Tolkien shows in both his mysteries, he does not need to have his DNA trumpeted; he is a first-rate writer in his own right. His latest thriller moves from a horrific crime perpetrated on a French family by two British soldiers during World War II and then straight into 1959, with the opening of a trial at the Old Bailey. Tolkien provides the kind of caustic portraits of judges and barristers and knowledge of the innermost cells of the Old Bailey that the late John Mortimer, also a barrister, delighted readers with in the Rumpole series. On trial is 22-year-old Stephen Cade, accused of shooting his estranged father in the head. The father was a war hero and then a well-heeled university professor. The son had motive: the father had just written him out of his will and denied him a requested sum of money. He had opportunity: he was, apparently, and by his own admission, with his father in his library. And his prints were on the gun that was found near the body. But something seems off to the officer in charge of the case. Detective Inspector William Trave of the Oxford CID uses the window of opportunity between trial and sentencing to trace the locked-room mystery back to its origins in France. Written with great surety and absolutely compelling. --Connie Fletcher
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Details

ISBN-10:  031253907X
ISBN-13:  978-0312539078
Author:  Simon Tolkien
Genre:  Legal Fiction
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
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review by . March 15, 2010
This book is for you. I've been suffering because Netflix does not stream Midsomers Murders or Poirot. This book was as comfortable as Saturdays years ago when you could catch both shows on cable. Grab a cup tea and find a comfortable chair; this book should be read at your leisure.     The story was rich and engaging. The style is a true to classic British murder mysteries, although not quite as complex as Christie's. The characters were well-developed; you understand their …
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