Robert Blair is an attorney in a long running family law practice. He is in his forties, unmarried, lives in the family home with his 'aunt' Lin who is really an older cousin. She is much like a mother to him. He has a comfortable, routine, safe life. Until he answers the phone late one afternoon. His life is turned upside down. Just five minutes more and he would have been gone for the day and life would have been much the same.
Marion Sharpe and her elderly mother need legal help. A young girl has accused them of picking her up on the street and holding her against her will and beating her. She has the bruises to prove it. Marion calls Robert and asks him to hurry out and be present when the police and Scotland Yard's Alan Grant, are present with the girl to confront her and her mother with these charges. This is not Roberts speciality in law by any means. He is use to elderly ladies changing their wills ever time the wind blows and handling estates. He tries very hard to turn Marion away, but in the end she convinces him to just come for this one meeting to make sure they are not railroaded. He finally agrees and runs out to the Franchise, their old crumbling estate, and his life is forever changed.
Convinced of their innocence even though the girls story is airtight and very convincing, he sets out to do all he can to get to the truth and vindicate the Sharpes.
I've noticed a few readers didn't particularly like this Tey. There is no murder and Alan Grant has a very small part in it. But I enjoyed it. It was a good puzzle with characters I liked and solid descriptions. I could visualize the Franchise and the surrounding towns etc. I enjoyed watching Robert's life loosen up and expand. I had an old 1965 Dell paperback copy to read. Small, 50 cents new and yellow pages. I loved the feel of it in my hands! Just added to the enjoyment of reading it. Sadly a couple of the first pages are coming out, but I still love it.
If you get a chance to read it don't let anyone put you off. It's a good read!