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The Professor of Truth Paperback – September 10, 2013
"Another One Goes Tonight" by Peter Lovesey
In the sixteenth entry of Peter Lovesey’s timeless British detective series, Peter Diamond wrestles with his own moral compass, struggling to protect police prestige while debating what it means to do right by a serial killer. Learn more | See related books
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From Publishers Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
The main character, Alan Tealing, has strong parallels to Robertson's wonderful creation Gideon Mack. This time, rather than being a minister without faith, the protagonist is a professor of English literature who secretly believes that all fiction is futile. Once again, faith - both lost and found - plays a key role in the plot. Also like 'The Testament of Gideon Mack', this novel is an example of focused storytelling, unlike 'And the Land Lay Still', which - sandwiched between two shorter, more coherent books - sprawled to an unnecessary length due to often-irrelevant and frequently dull tangents. 'The Professor of Truth' is distilled storytelling at its finest. Robertson never gives away too much, sticking to the axiom that good writing should begin in the writer's imagination and finish in the reader's.Read more ›
The name of that small town in Scotland should be all you need to recall what happened there.
If you need more to jog your memory, try this: Pan Am 103.
Just before Christmas of 1988, a half hour into a flight from London to New York, an explosion shredded that plane, killing all 243 passengers, 16 crew members and 11 people in a Scottish village. There were 89 Americans on that plane; until 9/11, it was the deadliest terror attack against the United States.
Who did it? In 2001, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi --- from Libya --- was convicted. According to the evidence presented at trial, the bomb was put in a suitcase that was loaded on a plane in Malta. It went to Frankfurt, then London, and then....
Who gave that evidence? A man from Malta. Just one man. But it was enough.
Jim Swire, an English doctor whose daughter was a passenger on Pan Am 103, didn't buy it. He made a cause out of not buying it. He even went to see Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in jail.
Disconcerting, don't you think? Because if al-Megrahi didn't get a bomb-laden suitcase onto the plane, who did? If he didn't do it, how involved were the police in creating the testimony that convicted him? And how many other cases are also "solved" in order to protect some "national interest" we know nothing about?
It's a great set-up for a drama, and Joseph Robertson, a Scottish novelist, jumped all over it in "The Professor of Truth." In his story the 28-year-old wife and 6-year-old daughter of Alan Tealing, an English professor at a college in Scotland, died in that plane bombing. Tealing goes numb: "That was the point: not to think about it.Read more ›
Professor Alan Tealing is in the latter group. The plane that carries his wife and young daughter explodes in mid-air over Scotland – not unlike the tragedy at Lockerbie – and a Mideast suspect is tried and found guilty. Yet Alan knows in his heart that justice has not been served. When a retired and deathly ill American stranger – likely CIA – shows up at his door in an attempt to get right with his God before death, Alan gains the impetus he needs to confront the sole witness on whom the conviction hinged.
“Sometimes you set off and you draw a map as you go. You’re looking for some end point but you don’t know what or where it is. And other times you do know, and it’s a question of how you get there. The narrative is how you get to the right destination.” So says the CIA agent but it could be Alan’s narrative as well. How do you get to what you’re searching for? How do you know when the narrative is invented or off-course?
Certainly you can rearrange the pieces of the narrative. But eventually, it imprisons you for the crime of not being able to believe. Alan Tealing has gone 18 years trying to get to the truth. He is, in a very tangible way, the eponymous Professor of Truth, even though truth “is not pure and separate. It is dirty and decayed and has frayed edges, and holes and tears in it.” Still, Alan must keep on his quixotic quest for truth, although he alienates many people around him.
To arrive at peace, Alan must literally face the fire; his personal narrative starts and ends with fire.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think I finally know what the movie reviewers mean by "style over substance". This was very beautifully written; it just flowed like silk from word to word & page to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by susankaye
This book started off well and promised an interesting insight into a tragic event. However, it became bogged down on tedious detail in several places. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Barbara Moore
Superb narration by Cameron Stewart of this fascinating book, a fictional interpretation of the plane crash over Lockerbie, Scotland, and one husband’s relentless 20-year effort to... Read morePublished on April 28, 2014 by Victoria Weisfeld
Nicely written and unusual plot. The world is more ambiguous than we like to think. It's about what's the truth is an does it really materPublished on January 16, 2014 by Plover
On December 21, 1988, almost exactly twenty-five years ago as I write, Pan American flight 103 from London to New York was brought down by a bomb and crashed over the small town of... Read morePublished on December 8, 2013 by Roger Brunyate
Robertson has presented a great premise. What if what we think the truth is just a convenient setup? A conspiracy theory without the nutty factor.Published on October 22, 2013 by David Steinberg