Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill

Sir Wilfred Hadda, known as Wolf to his friends, leads a charmed life.  He has risen from a poor childhood where his father was a woodcutter on a lord's estate, to wealth and power.  He has married his childhood sweetheart, daughter of the lord who ran the estate where his parents lived and worked.  He is a baron of industry.

All that changes one morning when he awakes to find the police at his door.  They believe that he is guilty of child pornography.  Desperate to clear his name, he runs from the police, straight into traffic, where he is hit.  He awakes from a coma months later, minus an eye, most of one hand, and crippled.  His trial for child pornography and financial fraud is quick and he is convicted.  His wife divorces him and marries his lawyer.  All his friends now despise and revile him.

Hadda is committed to a psychiatric hospital where hard cases like his and various serial killers are kept.  He is a model prisoner, totally disconnected from his surroundings.  That changes when he is assigned to the new doctor at the hospital, Alva Ozigbo.  She helps him delve into his past, and when she is satisfied that he has faced his crimes, she helps get him released on parole.

Hadda goes back home to his parent's small house, which is one of the few things that he still owns.  He goes about his life, walking the woods and talking with no one.  But those involved in getting him imprisoned start to have incidents occur to them.  Is Wolf taking his revenge for his conviction?  Was it a fair conviction or was he railroaded?

Reginald Hill cannot write a bad mystery.   Most readers know him from his wildly successful Pascoe and Dalziel series.   His books are full of believable characters and the plot moves along rapidly.  Readers will be compelled to like Wolf against their will and end the book by cheering for him.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

1 comment:

dovetail jig said...

just by hearing the title of the book "the wood cutter", it makes me think immediately that it was a suspense with some killings. Looking forward to read this one.