Judge Posner's second novel featuring western Massachusetts federal judge David Norcross delves into the trial of an Amherst professor, Sidney Cranmer, who is charged with obtaining and possessing child pornography. Cranmer's scholarly passion is Charles Dodgson, who wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland using the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll and was rumored to be a pedophile. Claire Lindemann, Norcross's love interest and a colleague of Cranmer is sure he has been wrongly accused and she works with the professors student intern whose own love life may have a bearing on the case. While the case drags on, David's life is complicated by a family tragedy that brings his two young nieces into his household.
The great appeal in Posner's legal thrillers is not action but rather the examination of law and how it is administered. His sympathetic characters are thoughtful and examine ethics as well as law but the miscreants are not nearly as well developed. All in all this is an entertaining and thought provoking read.