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Disordered Minds

New or Used: 7 copies from $32.02
When people are frightened, there's always a presumption of guilt if your face doesn't fit . . .' In 1970 Howard Stamp, a retarded twenty-year-old, was convicted on disputed evidence and a retracted confession of brutally murdering his grandmother in her Dorset home. Less than three years later he was dead, driven to suicide by self-hatred and relentless bullying by other prisoners. A fate befitting a murderer, perhaps, but what if he were innocent? More than a quarter of a century later, anthropologist and author Jonathan Hughes re-examines Stamp's case for a book on injustice. His research leads him to believe that Stamp was wrongly convicted. But is the previously forgotten story of one friendless young man compelling enough to make Hughes leave his ivory tower in order to champion justice for someone he never knew? Under pressure from a local councillor, who lives on the street where Stamp's grandmother was killed, Hughes takes up his research again. George Gardener has been trying to bring Stamp's case to public attention for years and has unearthed new evidence that might exonerate him. But Gardener needs the young academic on board if it is to be used to maximum effect. On the face of it, there is no similarity between the illiterate Stamp and the highly educated Hughes, but their lives resonate through their damaged childhoods and their mutual sense of exclusion. However, Jonathan must face his own demons if he's to take up arms on Stamp's behalf, and he lacks Gardener's courage to track down a dangerous killer still at large. Since her award-winning debut with The Ice House, Minette Walters has cemented her reputation as one of the most exciting crime fiction writers today. Published to critical acclaim throughout the world, each new book reaches the top of the Australian bestseller lists and many have now been adapted as television dramas. Minette lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.
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About the Author

Disordered Minds is Minette Walters' tenth outstanding thriller. Already the acclaimed author of nine international bestsellers, Walters has established herself as one of today's leading crime writers. Almost all of her previous novels have been made into television miniseries. She lives with her husband and two children in Dorset, England.


Bestseller Walters (Fox Evil, etc.) delivers another complex tale of murder and deception. In 1970, 20-year-old Howard Stamp is convicted of brutally killing his 57-year-old grandmother with a carving knife; three years later, he commits suicide in prison. In 2002, London anthropologist Jonathan Hughes includes the Stamp case in his book, Disordered Minds, which examines infamous miscarriages of justice. The mentally slow Stamp may have been coerced into confessing to the murder. George (Georgina) Gardener, an elderly councilor living in Stamp's hometown of Bournemouth, has come to believe in Stamp's innocence herself and asks Jonathan for help in clearing the young man's name. The two get off to a rocky start, but they form an uneasy alliance that gradually grows into a deep friendship. Watching this relationship develop is one of the novel's more entertaining aspects. Walters uses to good effect the multiple viewpoints of her numerous characters, as well as flashbacks, letters, newspaper articles and e-mails to reveal the truth behind the decades-old murder. However, as in life, there are no easy answers, and although the ending may disappoint some, it caps perfectly all that has come before it. Agent, Jane Gregory at Gregory and Company. (Dec. 7) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Murder will out, even after decades, in the hands of award-winning author Walters. A 1970 case, in which retarded Howard Stamp was convicted of the brutal killing of his grandmother Grace Jefferies, is brought to the attention of the public in general-and Councillor George (for Georgina) Gardener in particular-by London anthropologist Jonathan Hughes's book, Disordered Minds, about miscarriages of justice. Stamp committed suicide in prison, but George wants to clear his name and pursue the possible connection to the disappearance of 13-year-old Priscilla Trevelyan in the same neighborhood just days before Grace was killed. Jon and George make an unlikely pair, but the prickly, black, 34-year-old anthropologist and the ailing white 60-year-old councillor decide to ferret out the truth together. With its probing of a decades-old case involving issues of prejudice and abuse, this novel is reminiscent of Walters's The Shape of Snakes; while it uncovers less absolute evil, it is hardly less gripping in revealing and illuminating not only what happened but also why. A masterly tale of psychological suspense; for most fiction collections. [This mass-market Berkley Special Event paperback is a direct reprint of the British hardcover edition.-Ed.]-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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