No good-deed condolence call goes unpunished.
When Edinburgh QC Rex Graves reads of the death of Lord Gordon Murgatroyd, widely known as “Judge Murder,” he calls the judge’s daughter, Phoebe Wells, with his condolences. Phoebe relates her fears that the judge, who apparently died of a heart attack, may actually have been murdered, since his watch and a book of stamps are missing from his rooms in Phoebe’s Canterbury home. Although he’s skeptical, Rex agrees to visit; when he does, he finds some cause for investigation. Despite his engagement, Phoebe, embarrassingly, seems to take a romantic interest in him. Back home, he consults with the judge’s clerk about his past cases, wondering whether someone he sentenced might have sought revenge. One case that stands out is that of Richard Pruitt, accused of abducting and murdering a young girl, a man the judge influenced a jury to set free. A similar abduction is very much in the current news, and Rex fears that although no body has been found, that latest victim is most likely dead. Pruitt has always denied his guilt, and when Rex visits his flat he’s met by a man claiming to be Pruitt who drugs his coffee and suddenly attacks him. Only the sudden arrival of his friend Alistair Frazer, who knew where Rex was visiting, saves his life. Finding Pruitt hidden in the flat and badly wounded, the two friends rush him to the hospital on the assumption that Pruitt is innocent and the person who did kill the girl is covering his tracks. Rex has solved many a murder case in the past (Murder Comes Calling, 2015, etc.), and, spurred on by his own brush with death, he hopes with Alistair’s help to solve this one.
The denouement is only the latest of many twists, turns, and surprises. One of Challinor’s best.