Cover image for Indictment for murder : a mystery
Indictment for murder : a mystery
Rawlinson, Peter.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2000.

Physical Description:
251 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



In the past he had been seated on the judge's bench looking towards the dock in which he now stood... He turned and faced the clerk, who asked a fourth time: 'How say you? Are you Guilty or Not Guilty?'

Jonathan Playfair, Knight of the Realm, sometime Judge of the High Court, is standing trial for the murder of David Trelawney. The two once fought side by side in the mountains of North Africa, and the death of David 50 years later unearths the tainted details of their past together. While the Prosecutor tells the court of Trelawney's death, Jonathan is far away-in the recesses of his mind where memories from North Africa, long buried, pierce and consume him; where he cannot escape having witnessed another man's death in this dark Africa of 50 years past. In this startling novel, Rawlinson superbly examines the moral dilemma of ends and means and offers an insightful exploration of the darker human tendencies. Between compelling courtroom scenes and powerful flashbacks to the War, Indictment For Murder is a tale of high suspense and devastating revelation.

Author Notes

Peter Rawlinson was an MP for twenty-three years and became Solicitor General, Attorney General and later a Peer. For many years he was a barrister at the top of his profession. He has written five novels including the highly regarded legal thriller The Caverel Claim ( Thomas Dunne Books, 1998 ). Rawlinson lives in Wiltshire, England.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

From Rawlinson, who spent more than two decades working within the British legal system, comes this tight, suspenseful legal thriller. Sir Jonathan Playfair, a Judge of the High Court, is charged with the murder of a former friend with whom he served in Special Forces during World War II. Defending Playfair is Hugo Shelbourne, a high-profile attorney who's hampered by the fact that his own client seems unwilling to discuss a long-buried secret that could prove the key to his defense--or to his conviction. Legal thrillers are perhaps the most formulaic of crime novels--a defendant, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, at least one key piece of evidence, and lots of verbal warfare--but, like such skilled practitioners of the genre as Scott Turow or John Lescroart, Rawlinson writes a legal thriller that's more about people than plot. He keeps the important information hidden not only from Playfair's lawyer, but from us as well, and we perch on the edge of our seats waiting to find out whether the judge will be convicted. First class all the way. --David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

The trial of a 77-year-old retired judge for murdering a 78-year-old family friend who was a war hero forms the unlikely basis for this stirring psychological study set in England. Jonathan Playfair, Knight of the Realm and onetime Judge of the High Court, is accused of murdering David Trelawney, at whose side he long ago fought against the Germans in North Africa. The case appears straightforward: during a visit to Trelawney, who was bed-bound from a broken ankle and prostate cancer, Playfair was left alone with his old friend while the attendant nurse exited the room. When she returned, she found Trelawney dead, Playfair absent and physical and circumstantial evidence suggesting that Playfair had committed murder. While Rawlinson milks the ensuing trial for plenty of drama and suspense, with some deft surprises for punctuation, it is the psychological history of Trelawney and Playfair's relationship that above all rivets the attention. The bit players, from the troubled trial judge to the inexperienced prosecutor to the high-powered defense counsel, are extremely well drawn and serve admirably to highlight this study of cunning, survival and malevolence hidden by a facade of respectability. Rawlinson (The Caverel Claim, etc.), who was a British MP for 23 years, has demonstrated yet again that the internal struggles of individuals provide the greatest drama and the most intense theater of combat of all. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved