Set in 1931 this is the story of a henious crime and the events that followed. Bok is a lawyer and in the 50’s was president of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Roger Haike at seventeen is filling in for the janitor at his former high school. He lives alone since his aunt died. Roger lives off rabbits in the nearby woods for food.
Angela Hake is the sister of Roger’s childhood friend Joe. She’s thirteen and decides to come on to her brother and the two started a relationship. A while later Joe rejects her and she now hates all men.
The principal of the high school ran across Roger on the street and offered him a part time job filling in for the ailing school janitor. One day Roger caught a rabbit and brought it back to the furnace room. It’s against the rules to cook in the furnance but it’s the first real food he’s had in days.
While he’s cooking the rabbit Angela walks in and says she’ll turn him into the principal. Roger loses his temper and strangles Angela. He puts her body in the furnace. Still hungry he notices her arm.
He’s caught the next day and charged with murder, rape and canibalism. The rape charge isn’t true but the other charges are. His court appointed lawyer has him plead not guilty by reason of insanity. The case is being heard by a judge determined to give Roger the death penalty.
The next section features the trial with some windy speeches from the lawyers. The final section is about Roger’s fate.
Each section is followed by Bok’s comments that he used in his lectures at the University of Virgina Law School in 1957. The book makes for some grisly reading in sections but not for the purpose of sensationalism. It’s not worth searching out but fans of arrest and trial novels may like it.