The body of a young woman is found in the elevator of a polytechnical institute. Inspector John Crow is called in to investigate. The victim was the secretary for the institute’s principal. But no one can offer a motive.
Ac Crow ad his team investigate, they learn that not everyone who might be a suspect has a solid alibi. And the investigation is complicated by ongoing student demonstrations against the administration (it’s the 1960s; student demonstrations were part of the university experience). In fact, Crow and his colleagues find their hands full of protesting students while they try to find the killer.
Side stories begin to play into the investigation. A sociology instructor starts an affair with a student protester. A manager from the Ministry of Education begins to look into the murder himself. One suspect has suffered a heart attack. The stories and events are swirling, but Crow is finding almost every promising avenue a dead end.
Error of Judgment by British author Roy Lewis is the second in the Inspector Crow mystery series. The policeman plays an expectedly large role in this story, unlike the first, A Lover Too Many, in which he seemed almost a minor character. Lewis is developing his chief protagonist, and we’re learning more about his background and his relationships with his team, and what it is that makes him successful (dogged determination).
Lewis is the author of some 60 other mysteries, novels, and short story collections. His Inspector Crow series includes A Lover Too Many, Murder in the Mine, The Woods Murder, Error of Judgment, and Murder for Money, among others. The Eric Ward series, of which The Sedleigh Hall Murder is the first (and originally published as A Certain Blindness in 1981), includes 17 novels. The Arnold Landon series is comprised of 22 novels. Lewis lives in northern England.
Error of Judgment is a tale of human frailty, misplaced passions, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, all the while telling a story of student unrest in the 1960s.