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 ...
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 us
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-11-08 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.
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