Countless books have been written on the celebrated Calas case and this current one certainly won't be the last. Scholarly satisfying, properly sympathetic, it gives a , if not too searching, picture of an age (Louis XV's France), of a man (courageous, compassionate Voltaire) and a ""legal murder"" which came to be the piece de resistance of religious intolerance and social fanaticism. Jean Calas was a Protestant merchant living in Catholic Toulouse, he had daughters, sons, one of whom had turned to the Church of Rome. When Mar Antoine, the oldest, hung himself it was alleged he had been strangled by his own kin to prevent a further apostasy, a devilish deed popularly synonymous with Protestant practice. The family was tortured, the father broken alive (rompu vif), his body burnt, the surviving son banished for life and the mother and daughters left penniless and persecuted. Through the famous appeals of Voltaire and his influence with Mme. de the 7 Greats, Frederick and Catherine, justice finally triumphed. The proceedings of the Toulouse parliament were annulled, Calas declared innocent, payment made to the widow, and de , the jurist who had so hounded the distraught family, hurled himself from a window and died. As drama the book's uninspired, the psychological labyrinth's never explored; as history it's clear, crisp, competent, concerned.