When a famed Oxford historian is found dead in his study one night, all evidence points to his son, Stephen. About to be disinherited from the family fortune, Stephen returns to home after a long estrangement and it happens to be the night his father is shot to death. When his fingerprints are found on the murder weapon, Stephen's guilt seems undeniable. But there were five other people in the manor house at the time, and as their stories slowly emerge along with the revelation that the deceased man was involved in a deadly hunt for a priceless relic in Northern France at the end of World War II the race is on to save Stephen from a death sentence.
Everyone has a motive, and no one is telling the truth. Unwilling to sit by and watch the biased judge condemn Stephen to death, an ageing police inspector decides to travel from England to France to find out what really happened in that small French village in 1945 and what artifact could be so valuable it would be worth killing for.
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"While Tolkien, the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, could've done a better job of hiding the clues pointing to the real culprit, fans of English courtroom dramas will be satisfied." - Publishers Weekly
"This intricate story, which includes a distant father, the hunt for a religious artifact, and much detail about British society and its justice system, is a bit overambitious. However, it moves quickly, and the motives of the characters provide energy and drive to what turns out to be an absorbing 1950s-era mystery." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. Written with great surety and absolutely compelling." - Booklist
"Competently done, but largely forgettable. " - Kirkus Reviews
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Simon Tolkien was born in England in 1959 and grew up in a small village near Oxford. His grandfather was J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of The Rings. He studied Modern History at Trinity College, Oxford and then went on to become a successful barrister specializing in criminal justice, and, according to British custom, he appeared on behalf of both the prosecution and the defense. He now lives with his wife and two children in Southern California.
Tolkien's first novel, Final Witness, was published by Random House in 2002 and has been translated into eight languages. His second novel, The Inheritance, was published by Minotaur Books in April 2010 and was followed by The King of Diamonds a year later. All Tolkien's novels are published by Harpercollins in the UK. ...
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