"It is a joy for the just to do justice,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity." -- Proverbs 21:15 (NKJV)
Many people primarily know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, something he didn't take as much comfort from as his fans did. After a number of years, Sir Arthur began looking into cases of seeming injustice to employ his skills as a crime thinker. This book considers the most highly visible and important of those investigations, the conviction of an innocent man, solicitor George Edalji, who was a victim of racial prejudice in part and an incompetent court system in part. Sir Arthur was also a dedicated student of what was called spiritualism, had a most unusual relationship with his mother, and courted his second wife in a most unusual way.
Julian Barnes intertwines the stories of the two men to illuminate our understanding of them, their times, and their nation. In doing so, he draws on authentic letters and quotations to ground his "fiction" in plenty of fact. The result resembles something a bit better than the so-called new journalism that some use to report news stories today in fictionalized form.
I have read about the facts covered by this book in a number of different forms, and I was blown away by how much more effective Mr. Barnes' approach is for making the story interesting, lively, and revealing. As a result, I added a lot to my understanding, even though I thought I didn't need to do so.
Bravo, Mr. Barnes!