One summer night, two men break into an isolated manor house and kill Lady Anne Robinson. Her son, Thomas, convinces the police that his fathers beautiful personal assistant sent the killers, but Thomas is known for his overactive imagination, and he has reasons to lie.
Thomass father, Sir Peter Robinson, the British minister of defense, refuses to believe his son. Instead, he marries his assistant, Greta Grahame, and will be giving evidence for the defense at her trial. He will be the final witness.
Author Simon Tolkien successfully combines legal suspense and psychological tension in this sharply etched portrait of four people whose lives are changed by a murder. Alternating between the trial in Londons Central Criminal Court and private moments among the characters, Tolkien expertly describes the art of the trial, the clash between Britains social classes, and, most notably, the complexity of family relations.
Who is telling the truththe new wife or the bereaved son? What will Sir Peter tell the court? With tantalizing ambiguity, Tolkien keeps readers guessing about the true motivations of these characters until the final witness.
UK Title : The Stepmother.
My name is Thomas Robinson. I am sixteen years old. Today is Thursday, the sixth of July, and I am making this statement to Detective Sergeant Hearns of the Ipswich Police. I have made two statements already in these proceedings. Everything that I say is true to the best of my knowledge and belief, and I make this statement knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have willfully stated anything which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.
I live in the House of the Four Winds, which is on the outskirts of the town of Flyte on the coast of Suffolk. The only other person who lives here now is the housekeeper, Jane Martin, who looked after me when I was a boy. My father never comes to visit me anymore.
My mother was killed in this house on the thirty-first of May last year. I described everything that happened in my first two statements. Two men came and murdered her. One of them had a ponytail and a scar behind his...
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