Mordecai Ledbury, crippled, ugly and saturnine, the most famous advocate of his time and an expert at making enemies, spends a night in a dilapidated old house where his family once lived, hoping to discover what event in her early life had turned his strange and embittered mother into a monster of malice. By morning, outside the bedroom where Mordecai had slept, a masked intruder lies dead, the back of his head blown off by a shot from a heavy calibre pistol. The gun is the relic of Mordecai's eccentric and reclusive uncle, who had lived in the isolated house since the end of World War II. Mordecai himself admits to firing the shot so is he therefore guilty of murder? Or was the gun, as he claims, only intended to frighten off the intruder, making the killing not 'excessive use of force' but a tragic accident? With its echoes of recent life events, this is a veritable legal cliffhanger, with the Director of Public Prosecutions, aided and abetted by a hostile local police force - whose chief constable Mordecai has insulted at a party - pressing for a charge of murder, and the public and the press arguing for the accused to go free. In this most haunting and evocative of Peter Rawlinson's novels to date, a tragic wartime love story and a dark family secret combine with the author's mastery of courtroom drama to make this a story that will grip the reader to the very last page.
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