Judge Henry Lawler has his own reasons for appointing classmate Jerry Kennedy to try what becomes in time the case of the Estate of Sandra Nichols v. Peter Wade, on behalf of the descendant's three children. An old hand at trying criminal cases, Jerry has always studiously avoided civil cases (he's more comfortable with armed robbery, tax evasion, embezzling, bribery, and corruption). But this time Jerry makes an exception for Judge Henry. After all, it's the right thing to do for the orphans. And besides, what are friends for if not to impose on a guy?
Inasmuch as Sandra Nichols was murdered several months before her body was found, alibis are fairly easy to come by, even for Peter Wade, Sandra's ex, who is the most likely suspect. On the criminal side of the law, if the defendant isn't caught in the act, there are three things a prosecutor must prove, all of which Wade has in spades: motive, means, and opportunity. The evidence is too elusive to establish Wade's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; wrongful death is easier: all Jerry Kennedy needs to do is make Wade's part in Sandra's death 51 percent certain.
©1996 George V. Higgins; (P)1996 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Higgins is uniquely blessed with a gift for voices, each of them as distinctive as a fingerprint." (The New Yorker)
I stopped listening to it a few hours in because it seemed to consist of a series of long monologues, like testimony and people telling long, rambling stories. The characters behind these stories had their own identities and voices, so that much of it was enjoyable, but I just found my attention drifting too much.
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