26 March 2009

Forgotten Book: ANATOMY OF A MURDER, Robert Traver

Another contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books

Another book from my reading records in 1978.

Blurb courtesy Fantastic Fiction:
At forty, Paul Biegler's world seemed to have come to an end: after ten years as DA in his small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the people had elected a new hero, a young army veteran. And Biegler had been spending a lot of time fishing and thinking about his future. Then the call came from Laura Mannion: her husband had been arrested on a charge of murder. She said that the man her husband had killed had assaulted her. Suddenly, Polly, as he is known to the entire town, sees his opportunity: maybe he can show his rival that he can defend as well as he can prosecute. What follows is one of the most brilliant courtroom dramas of all time, as Polly puts together his defence and minutely examines the seething emotions under the placid surface of his town.

Apparently the novel is based on a true murder that happened in Michigan over 50 years ago, this novel is a detailed description of a famous murder trial. From the beginning of the novel, one is quite aware of the fact that army Lt Manion killed Barney Quill. There are too many witnesses who saw him commit the offence, and in fact he does not deny it. What the reader is forced to consider right up until to the end of the book is whether or not Manion is blameworthy and also whether or not the killing was acceptable in the light of what precipitated the act.

Some interesting reviews on Amazon.

Robert Traver (1903-1991) was the pseudonym of John D. Voelker who served as the Prosecuting Attorney of Marquette County, Michigan and later as the 74th Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. He wrote many books reflecting his two passions, the law and flyfishing
Small-Town D.A. (1954)
Anatomy of a Murder (1958)
Laughing Whitefish (1965)
People Versus Kirk (1981)

Does anyone remember the book? Perhaps you remember the film. I think I do, just...
The best-selling novel was turned into an Academy Award nominated film -- directed by Otto Preminger and starring Jimmy Stewart -- that was released July 1, 1959. Duke Ellington wrote the music for the movie. According to the Wikepedia article, it is critically acclaimed as one of the best trial movies of all time.

2 comments:

maxine said...

Nice post, Kerrie. I am pretty sure I read this book years ago, possibly as long ago as 1978! Not being as efficient as you, I didn't keep a journal so can't remember for sure. I don't think I have seen the movie but I have heard of it. I do like legal thrillers, so maybe I'll revisit this one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Pretty near a permanent best seller in Michigan for years.

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