Verdict in Blood is Gail Bowen’s sixth novel featuring Joanne Kilbourn, one of Canada’s most beloved sleuths. Teacher, friend, lover, single mother, and now grandmother, Joanne has a quick intelligence and a boundless compassion, which repeatedly get her into – and out of – trouble.
In Verdict in Blood, Joanne’s good friend Hilda McCourt is visiting her in Regina, Saskatchewan, when Judge Justine Blackwell’s corpse is found sprawled across one of the limestone slabs of the Boy Scout memorial in Wascana Park. Blackwell, known for the harsh sentences she’s handed down over the years, had lately been seeking out people she’d once incarcerated and trying to help them. Had she had a genuine change of heart, or had she been getting senile? Even the fearsome judge herself had wondered. Just the night before her death, she’d asked Hilda to make an assessment of her mental condition.
Now she’s dead, the matter is urgent: Which of her two wills should prevail – the one leaving everything to her daughters, including the famous sixties singer Lucy Blackwell, or the one leaving it all to Culhane House, a halfway house for ex-cons? Whoever stood to lose could be her murderer, and Hilda has to decide. Before too long, Joanne (who has problems enough of her own with her lover, Alex, and his troubled nephew, Eli) finds herself once again embroiled in intrigue.