Scott Turow writes an engrossing book based on love, obsession, and the legalsystem. In the beginning the protagonist character, Rusty Sabich, a DistrictProsecuting Attorney (P. A. ) begins the story in first person speaking about whatis expected of him as a P.
A. His voice gives reason that he is unhappy and lacksfaith in the legal system. Rusty has been accused of a horrible crime, rape andmurder. Turow’s story depicts a typical situation of a person being set up. Theending will ravish your outlook on love and infidelity. Rusty speaks of hissorrow for a peer who has been raped and murdered.
Her name is Carolyn Polhemus. She was a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Kindle County. She was known to excelin her job of prosecuting rapist and her reputation became that of a slut. Raymond Horgan, the acting P. A. and Rusty Sabichs’ boss asks him personally toinvestigate her murder.
Rusty and his co-worker, Lipranzer “Lip”, talkover the case and decide that it would be best to start with the men thatCarolyn had put behind bars. This inquiry led them to a missing file, dubbed the”B” file, meaning bribery. The “B” file becomes a crucialtwist to the plot. Rusty is seeing a psychiatrist. The first session that Turowreveals is that of Rusty talking of his affair with Carolyn Palhemus.
He goesback in time as he discusses his compulsive, obsession for her. They began theiraffair after they won the case of a young boy who was brutally abused by his ownmother. The book gives explicit, erotic details of their sexual encounterstogether. Carolyn ends the affair with Rusty because she can not talk him intopushing Raymond to the side and running for office himself. This change inprofessional status for Rusty would in turn give Carolyn the chance to move upin the ranks.
Rusty does not deal with the break up and continues to persueCarolyn at the office and via telephone. He did not want the affair to end, norwould he have left his wife for her. Rusty confessed to his wife, Barbara thathe was having an affair with Carolyn Polyhemus, but that it had ended. Thefingerprint report is back and the prints belong to Rusty.
There several phonecalls from Rusty’s home to Carolyn’s home. Lip also told him that the pathologyresults lead to type A blood and type A semen and that the person was sterile. Rusty made the comment that he is type A and Lip said that he thought aboutthat; however, Rusty has a son. The evidence against Rusty is taking a huge tollon the election of Rusty’s boss, Raymond Horgan. Raymond Horgan, a knoble man,looses the election to a man who used to work him, Nicco Della Guardia, anunfare, dirty player.
Rusty’s house is searched and tests are performed oncarpet and coat fibers. Rusty’s wife is surprisingly very strong and supportivefor Rusty. Shortly after the results come in Rusty is arrested for the rape andmurder of Carolyn Polhemus. He hires the best and most expensive DefenseAttorney in town, Sandy Stern.
In the mean time, Lip has found that the”B” file leads to a criminal named Leon who had Carolyn as a probationofficer. Raymond finds out about Rusty’s affair with Carolyn and Rusty finds outabout Raymond’s affair with Carolyn. Rusty is stunned and Raymond is pissed-off. Rusty, being Raymonds right-hand-man for twelve years, is furious when he learnsthat Raymond plans to testify against him since he withheld the fact that he hadan affair with Carolyn. Raymond gave Caroloyn a case that she wasn’t necessarilyqualified for. He gave in to her like the all the other men did.
Carloyn was aseasoned bitch. Turow never gives out the identity of the murderer; however,throughout the trial he leads you to believe that it is Rusty. The trial beginsand right away the biggest piece of evidence is missing, the beer glasscontaining Rusty’s fingerprints which was removed from Carolyn’s apartment. Thefingerprint expert is allowed to testify even though the glass itself is missingfrom the evidence room. The evidence presented of the carpet fibers matchedRusty’s home carpet fibers and pathology report of bodily fluids automaticallyfingers Rusty as the murderer. Rusty’s lawyer believes that Rusty was set-up byNicco to make Raymond’s campaign look bad, leading to Nicco winning theelection.
Lip was removed from the case, but being a close friend of Rusty’s,researches and finds Leon. The two of them go to visit Leon and leave with proofthat Judge Larren Lyttle, who happens to be the judge for Rusty’s case, was paidthrough Carolyn the sum of $5,000 to remove charges against him. They also foundout that Carolyn had an affair with Judge Lyttle. Rusty tells his lawyer aboutvisiting Leon and this concludes the importance of the “B” file.
Knowing that Judge Lyttle would catch on, Stern makes several accusationsreferring to the “B” file. The autopsy doctor for Carolyn, Dr. Kumigeye, testifies that he found spermicidal jelly along with type A semen inCarolyn’s vagina. Stern shows Dr.
Kumigeye a report from a gynecologist provingthat Carolyn had her tubes tied six years prior. Dr. Kumigeye has made a bigmistake, possibly mixing up her report with one of the other eighteen peoplethat he examined that week. Stern asks the doctor if he can testify with nohesitance that Carolyn Polhemus had no spermicidal jelly present.
Dr. Kumigeyecould not justify this statement. The apparent falsified evidence leads to thecase being dismissed. Rusty is judged as a hero and Stern as a wonderfulattorney. After sometime life begins to return to normal for Rusty, except hiswork.
He finds it hard to go back and face the people who did not believe inhim. During his period of adjustment, Rusty starts the project of fixing thebroken fence at he and Barbara’s home. He retrieves a tool and finds it hasblood and a blonde hair dried up on it. This tool matches the description of thetool used in Carolyns’s murder.
He goes to the basement and washes the bloodfrom the tool as Barbara looks on. Rusty and Barbara agree to split up, but notdivorce. Yes, Rusty was obsessed with Carolyn and yes, Rusty neglected andbetrayed his wife, but he did not realize that his selfishness would lead tosuch a raw act of violence. His infidelity lead to the fantasy of a woman takingout the “other” woman who stole her husbands mind, body and soul.
Rusty thought about it over and over again. He pieced it together and discoveredthat Barbara Sabich murdered Carolyn Polhemus. Scott Turow, being an attorneyhimself, writes a tragic story of a family torn from an affair that never endedin Rusty’s mind, heart and body. Carolyn made Rusty ache for her and she knewit. She had definitely mesmerized all of the men in “PresumedInnocent. ” Turow throws out several hints that Rusty did it.
One would bethe scene in Stern’s office where Rusty acts like the prosecution and role-playsbeing the murderer. The motif would have to be the revenge and murder of ahusband’s lover. Turow uses Rusty as first person to tell the story. Rusty’stone is mellow, yet anxious, laid-back and ripe at times.
The novel proved tohave two conflicts. One being Rusty’s decision not to turn in his wife and theother is the conflict within himself about why he wanted Carolyn so bad. Irecommend this book to anyone involved in a relationship, especially if you arecheating on someone. Through out the novel I wanted to skip to the end. Thesuspense of “who did it” is relentless. My first guess was that Rustyfound out about Raymond’s affair with Carolyn and became jealous enough to killher.
My second guess was that Raymond found out about Rusty’s affair withCarolyn and set him up. I suggest reading the novel and renting the movie. Therewere a few differences between the book and the movie. The main one was that inthe movie Barbara Sabich confesses to the murder of Carolyn Polhemus after Rustywashes the hatchit. In the novel, Rusty figures out that his jealous, crazy wifefantasized, plotted and killed Carolyn Polhemus.