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by Andrew Nugent
Thomas Dunne Books, May 2005
240 pages
ISBN: 0312327587

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The Honourable Mr Justice Sidney Piggott, Judge of the High Court, is hearing a boring chancery suit on a hot summer's day. He has lunch with a colleague, as usual, and his chauffeur/crier, Ned Frost, is waiting for him, also as usual, at 6pm, in the car.

Frost had been let off from 4pm to 6pm with strict instructions to meet the judge at 6pm sharp. When Piggott doesn't show up by 6:35, Frost, despite instructions, goes to find the judge. Frost finds Piggott's battered body in his chambers. He has been strangled and a kick has broken his neck.

Dublin detectives Inspector Denis Lennon, and Sgt Molly Power are assigned to the case. On a hint from Ben Silverman, a barrister friend of Lennon's, they call Inspector Jim Quilligan, the head of the garda fine arts section, for advice.

The Roundstones, Dublin antique dealers, seem not to be completely kosher. Apparently, there have been some transactions between the couple and the judge, which leaves the judge with a considerable balance in an offshore account. And a handsome young man has been seen around the court. He was last spotted in the gallery in Justice Piggott's last case. He has gone missing.

This is a fast-moving police procedural filled with delightful characters. It pokes light fun at the Irish temperament and peculiarities, while racing toward a well thought-out conclusion. The language is vivid, playful and elegant

"Ben was in Court 4 representing a mass-circulation newspaper and a journalist who in his routinely scurrilous column has described a fashionable psychologist as a miserable quack. The fact was that journalist and psychologist were equally meretricious, hack and quack respectively. The psychologist quack, however, did not see it that way and had sued the journalist hack for substantial damages."

The author has been a trial lawyer, headmaster of a boy's school, and a missionary in Africa. He is now the Prior of a Benedictine Abbey. He uses all of these professions in this, his first work of fiction.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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