Verdict of Twelve

POSTGATE, Raymond. Verdict of Twelve.

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POSTGATE, Raymond. Verdict of Twelve. London, Collins, [1940].

8vo. Publisher's red cloth, spine lettered in black; in the original illustrated dust-wrapper (clipped but retaining price sticker); pp. [vi], 7-252, [4]; discolouration to spine of wrapper, with a few small marks to lower panel of wrapper; slight spotting to edges; bookseller stickers to paste-downs; discolouration to endpapers and light foxing throughout; a good copy in the remarkably well preserved, scarce wrapper.
First edition. Raymond Postgate was a British author, jounalist, and social historian, best known for his diverse body of work including detective fiction. This, Verdict of Twelve, is his first novel, and is a mystery story set in a courtroom where the lives of the jurours are explored in depth as they deliberate on the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Beginning with a seemingly straightforward murder trial, the defendant, Herbert Russell, is accused of poisoningt his wife with morphine. As the trial progresses, Postgate introduces the readers to the twelve jurours, each of whom has their own perspective, prejudices, and personal history, with the narrative unravelling insight into their thought processes and how their life experiences work to influence their judgements and decisions in the trial.
As the jury deliberates, tensions rise, and the story becomes a character study of the jurors themselves. Postgate's exploration of the human condition and the flaws and strengths of each character adds complexity to the novel. The verdict becomes a significant moment, not just for the defendant but also for the jurors themselves. Postgate provides a unique narrative structure and a fantastic example of character development, and is often praised for its psychological approach to the jury system as well as its challenges to the conventional approach of many mysery novels of that time. It provides a deep and engaging exploration of the moral and emotional dilemmas faced by the jurors, making it a compelling and thought-provoking read for fans of both mystery and psychological fiction.