Taylor Caldwell begins Testimony of Two Men where more usual novels would have ended: Dr. Jonathan Ferrier has been acquitted of the murder-by-botched-abortion of his young wife, Mavis.
Unable to live among people who doubted his innocence, Jon has sold his practice to young Robert Morgan, who, of candidates Jon interviewed, seemed least likely to do harm.
Robert feels something akin to awe of Jon, for his culture as much as for his brilliant medical skill.
Jon finds Robert’s conventional, mamma’s boy behavior amusing.
Jon’s brother, Harald, made a marriage of convenience to a rich widow. She’s dead; Harald is living on an island with her nubile daughter, whom he wishes to marry.
When Robert sees Jenny, he’d like to marry her, too.
Jon thinks Jenny is a whore and Harald one of her sex partners.
Taylor Caldwell makes the novel part mystery, part romance, but always keeps her focus on the psychological development of her characters.
Jon’s insulting manner with people he thinks cruel, incompetent, or corrupt make him his own worst enemy.
Fortunately, he has some good friends who come to his rescue.
Caldwell wraps up the novel with enough of Jon’s hostility showing to prove she’s a good novelist.
Testimony of Two Men by Taylor Caldwell
Doubleday, 1968, Book Club Edition, 600 pp. My grade: A-.
© 2107 Linda Gorton Aragoni