Sandrine's Case

Sandrine's Case

4.9 8
by Thomas H. Cook

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Thomas H. Cook offers one of his most compelling novels ever in Sandrine's Case, in which a college professor falls in love with his wife all over again...while on trial for her murder.

Samuel Madison always wondered what Sandrine saw in him. He was a meek, stuffy doctorate student, and she a brilliant, beautiful, bohemian with limitless talents and


Thomas H. Cook offers one of his most compelling novels ever in Sandrine's Case, in which a college professor falls in love with his wife all over again...while on trial for her murder.

Samuel Madison always wondered what Sandrine saw in him. He was a meek, stuffy doctorate student, and she a brilliant, beautiful, bohemian with limitless talents and imagination. On the surface their relationship and marriage semed perfectly tranquil: jobs at the same small, liberal arts college, a precocious young daughter, a home filled with art and literature, and trips to some of the world's most beautiful cities and towns. And then one night Sandrine is found dead in their bed and Samuel is accused of her murder.

As the truth about their often tumultuous relationship comes to light, Samuel must face a town and media convinced of his guilt, a daughter whose faith in her father has been shaken to its core, and astonishing revelations about his wife that make him fall in love with her for a second time. A searing novel about love lost and rediscovered, from one of our greatest chroniclers of the human heart.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this slow-burning, intricate thriller from Edgar-winner Cook (The Crime of Julian Wells), Sam Madison and his wife, Sandrine, both professors at Georgia’s Coburn College (he of literature, she of history) and parents of a grown daughter, appear to have a solid marriage. But below the surface there are problems, which culminate in Sandrine’s death from a cocktail of Demerol and vodka. While the coroner rules the death a suicide, the police suspect foul play and soon zero in on Sam as his wife’s killer. The local prosecutor is so certain of Sam’s guilt that he seeks the death penalty. In the course of the murder trial, which runs from unexpected revelations on the witness stand to torrents of legalese as the attorneys jockey for power, Sam reflects on his relationship with the brilliant, beautiful, and vexing Sandrine. Through Sam’s memories, Cook pulls off the tricky task of rendering Sandrine—a lover of ancient history, particularly Cleopatra, and the intricacies of language—as vividly as if she had never died. This crime novel, one of his best, builds to an unforeseen, but earned, climax. (Aug.)
The Bookwatch
“[A] slow-burning intricate thriller from Edgar-winner Cook. . . . One of his best.”
Publishers Weekly [HC starred review]

From the Publisher
“Narrator Brian Holsopple dishes out just the right recipe of pathos, irony, tenderness, and style in Cook’s latest. . . . Stay with Holsopple for the verdict and the unusual ending. It will be worth it.”

“A powerful reading by Brian Holsopple, who brings to life an unusual love story. . . . A wonderful blend of mystery and romance makes for an exceptional listen!”
The Bookwatch

“Holsopple’s performance as Sam Madison is more than worth the price of admission.”

Kirkus Reviews
A psychological courtroom thriller from Cook (The Crime of Julian Wells, 2012, etc.). Husband and wife Sam and Sandrine Madison are both professors at Coburn College in Georgia, but one evening, Sandrine dies from an overdose of pain medications and liquor. Is it suicide or murder? Sam's strange behavior leads to his arrest, and his subsequent murder trial forms the structure of the story, told in his own words. The couple had grown apart over the years because Sandrine saw Sam as becoming increasingly indifferent and disconnected from her. Even when he learns Sandrine has Lou Gehrig's disease and will surely die, he shows little sympathy or emotional support. He holds his town of Coburn in contempt and considers his students ignoramuses unworthy of his erudition. (Do these kids even know that "unique" doesn't take an adjective?) Sam's thoughts and speech are full of literary references that further separate him from ordinary people. If he ever gets around to writing the great book he vaguely plans, he won't write it in his office--he doesn't have one of those--but in his "scriptorium." So Sam is an easy man to dislike, both for the townspeople and the reader. Maybe Sandrine committed suicide, as Sam claims. Or maybe he murdered her to escape the increasing burdens of her care, as the prosecutor wants the jury to think. Day by day, the state builds its case while the defense tries to tear it down. Sam's own memories show Sandrine's increasing frustration and rage with him, while conversations with the defense attorney reveal more of Sam's personality than the defense dares allow the jury to know. Defense and prosecution are equally skilled and devoted to winning their cases, so the trial's outcome--and the truth--are not easy to predict. A marvelous tale of human nature.

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Meet the Author

Thomas H. Cook is a legendary figure in crime writing. He has been nominated for the Edgar seven times in five different categories. He is the recipient of the Best Novel Edgar for The Chatham School Affair, the Martin Beck Award of the Swedish Academy of Detection, the Herodotus Prize for Best Historical Short Story, and the Barry for Best Novel for Red Leaves. His most recent novel was the critically acclaimed The Crime of Julian Wells. He splits his time between New York City and Cape Cod.

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Sandrine's Case 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
RubeeMoon More than 1 year ago
This book is simply wonderful from page 1 until the ending, Could not put down, 
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
There have been many novels depicting, describing and analyzing criminal courtroom cases. Some are narrated by lawyers, a la Grisham. Others by p.i.’s. Some even by witnesses, prosecutors or just plain old cops. Rarely has there been a novel from the point of view of the defendant, learning more about himself as the testimony unfolds. Yet that’s what this book is all about. The novel is a detailed analysis of a man, Sam Madison, who is charged with murdering his wife, Sandrine. The two were professors at a small college in Georgia, married for many years when she is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Apparently the prosecution believes he killed his wife to avoid watching her die slowly and having to care for her. The case is largely circumstantial, but is carefully built upon a strong series of clues about Sam, and how he changed over the years, disillusioned with life and the town in which they lived and taught and the college, and developing into a person different from the one he was when the two first met. The plot follows that trial, day by day, giving the author the means to develop the changes in Sam’s personality as each witness tells of observations Sandrine made to them. It proves quite a learning experience. It slowly develops toward an unexpected conclusion, unforeseen but logical. Written smoothly, it reaches the unpredictable ending to what otherwise could be a confusing but troubling case. Highly recommended.
JoEllen1 More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read in a long time. I could not put it down until the last last page. The story is so compelling and the characters are richly developed. I enjoyed the trial as it reveals pieces of evidence slowly throughout the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read, could not put this book down first time reading this author, would highly recommend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ending brought it all together
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