A gripping courtroom drama combining psychological suspense and political intrigue from the pen of ex-barrister-turned-crime novelist Simon Tolkien, grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien.
It’s the trial - and scandal - of the decade: Greta Grahame, the beautiful young wife of Minister of defence Sir Peter Robinson, is accused of conspiring to murder her predecessor, Peter’s first wife, Anne.
The prosecution case depends heavily on the evidence of one witness - Greta’s sixteen-year-old stepson, Thomas.
A dreamy, bookish boy, Thomas was present but hidden on the night two men broke into their ancestral home, The House of the Four Winds, and killed his mother. His testimony steadfastly links Greta to the hitmen.
But the boy’s motives are unclear. Is he so crazed by grief that he would frame his stepmother for murder? Or are his feelings toward Greta more complicated than anyone realizes? Might he actually be jealous of his father, jealous enough to destroy what remains of his own family? Or is he telling the truth - that this cunning young woman will stop at nothing in her pursuit of wealth and status?
Simon Tolkien combines compelling courtroom drama and classic psychological suspense in this sharply etched page-turner.
Previously published in 2003 as The Stepmother.
“Half Christie and half Grisham.” (Los Angeles Times)
“A legal thriller ripped from tomorrow’s headlines … a remarkably skillful novel, brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed.” (Washington Post)
“Tolkien's skill as a storyteller is worthy of notice in this taut, well-paced legal thriller.” (Library Journal)
“The twists keep coming until that last witness. Highly convincing debut.” (People Magazine)
“Fast-paced and with suspense to spare, [Tolkien’s] debut shows admirable skill and depth and has a conclusion as surprising as it is satisfying.” (Dallas Morning News)
“Tolkien’s writing has a timeless quality [and] the haunting undertones of other great masters of mystery.” (USA Today)
“Part English cozy, part family saga, part courtroom drama, this genre-bending work of fiction is touching and enchanting.” (Booklist starred review)
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Tough name to live up to and fails spectacularly.
Shame about the narration