Involuntary Witness

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Involuntary Witness
Author Gianrico Carofiglio
Original title Testimone Inconsapevole
Translator Patrick Creagh
Country Italy
Language Italian
Series Guido Guerrieri #1
Genre Legal thriller novel
Publisher Bitter Lemon Press
Publication date
Published in English
July 2005
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 274 pp
ISBN 1-904738-07-9
OCLC 62353862
853/.92 22
LC Class PQ4903.A665 T4713 2005

Involuntary Witness (Italian: Testimone Inconsapevole) is a legal thriller by Italian writer Gianrico Carofiglio, published originally in 2002 and translated into English by Patrick Creagh in 2005.

Plot summary[edit]

At the beginning of the novel, Italian lawyer Guido Guerrieri splits from his wife and somewhat loses track of his life. He moves into a flat where he knows no one, drinks a bit, and generally doesn't take very good care of himself. Then he gets involved in a controversial trial. Abdou Thiam, a Senegalese immigrant who sells fake handbags on the beaches of Bari has been accused of the kidnap and murder of a young Italian boy. A witness claims he saw him in the area, though Thiam, who has been seen several times in the company of the boy, denies it. When searched, Thiam is found to have possession of a photograph of the boy, though he claims they were good friends, and that the boy gave it to him. Thiam is arrested for the crime and bound over for trial. A friend of Thiam approaches Guido Guerrieri and asks him if he will represent the African, and he accepts.

Initially Guido wants to opt for the shortened procedure, whereby the prosecution evidence is shown only to a judge, with no questioning or trial. The result will be a certain conviction, though a reduced sentence for opting for the abbreviated, less time-consuming procedure. Thiam protests his innocence, and initially gives up hope, before a suicide attempt in his cell. A short or long sentence, either will be the end of him for the crime of killing a child. So, Guido is open to the possibility of the longer process, with witnesses and a jury. The sentence will be permanent, but there is at least a chance of acquittal, even though it is very slim. Thiam agrees, and the trial begins.