Release date: 12/01/2004
Correction: The author cited in the review of Jan DeSmedt's Singularity (Forecasts, Oct. 25) is Greg Bear, not Craig Bear.
Bestseller Walters (Fox Evil , etc.) delivers another complex tale of murder and deception. In 1970, 20-year-old Howard Stamp is convicted of brutally killing his 57-year-old grandmother with a carving knife; three years later, he commits suicide in prison. In 2002, London anthropologist Jonathan Hughes includes the Stamp case in his book, Disordered Minds , which examines infamous miscarriages of justice. The mentally slow Stamp may have been coerced into confessing to the murder. George (Georgina) Gardener, an elderly councilor living in Stamp's hometown of Bournemouth, has come to believe in Stamp's innocence herself and asks Jonathan for help in clearing the young man's name. The two get off to a rocky start, but they form an uneasy alliance that gradually grows into a deep friendship. Watching this relationship develop is one of the novel's more entertaining aspects. Walters uses to good effect the multiple viewpoints of her numerous characters, as well as flashbacks, letters, newspaper articles and e-mails to reveal the truth behind the decades-old murder. However, as in life, there are no easy answers, and although the ending may disappoint some, it caps perfectly all that has come before it. Agent, Jane Gregory at Gregory and Company. (Dec. 7)