Ben Lewis is young for a judge. He was appointed by the governor as a favor to his dead father. Sometimes he doubts his ability as a judge and facing the most important trial of his career others do also. The trial concerns the murder of a beautiful woman. Her husband, who was drunk at the time, found her and immediately became the chief suspect. The case seems open and shut, but is it?
Ben has his own romantic problems being caught between two women, a desirable Swedish girl, and a sultry Mexican heiress. As Ben struggles with the trial and his personal demons, he faces the truth about himself and the law.
A Covenant with Death is more than a murder mystery, it's a psychological exploration of the meaning of life and the relation of law to society. The novel takes place in an unnamed Southwestern county in 1923. The atmosphere of heat and sand is a perfect backdrop for the ensuing action. I thought the author did an excellent job showing how the town's people react during the complex case.
Ben's character is well done. Although I often dislike books where the main character does a lot of soul searching, in this instance it was compelling. I also loved the character of his mother. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy a good murder mystery, but even more if you're interested in truth, innocence, and the limits of the law.
I received this book for review from Net Galley.