One spring afternoon, defence attorney Guerrieri is confronted with an unexpected spectre from his past. As if that weren’t enough, her son Jacopo, a small-time delinquent, stands convicted of the first-degree murder of a local drug dealer. Her trial lawyer has died, so, for the appeal, she turns to Guerrieri as her last hope.
The reflections on legal and judicial procedure are another interesting aspect of the case, as Guerrieri explains the appeals process playing out and the choices he makes along the way. Some of this might feel dry -- the case does not offer American TV or John Grisham-style courtroom drama or theatrics -- but fascinating in its authenticity. Indeed, The Measure of Time works particularly well because it manages to avoid the sensational ... offers a neat balance between personal reflection and professional action. The fact that so much about Iacopo's case is ambiguous -- right down to the very end -- is particularly effective. If the appeals case and how it unfolds may seem almost unexciting, its slow simmer offers a different kind of reader-satisfaction that Carofiglio pulls off well ... A solid novel that feels like it manages to do exactly what the author intended.
... what he considers mere digressions provide breathtaking insights into human nature, both philosophical and psychological, all the more fascinating given that this introspective man’s best friend is Mr. Punchbag, who hangs from the ceiling in his living room. Carofiglio’s exacting prose makes absorbing reading, and the legal machinations will please old-school fans of Erle Stanley Gardner.
... sluggish ... The world-weary Guerrieri—contemplating his own mortality while dealing with a woman whose life is filled with unattained dreams and sadness—and long courtroom sequences that lack any intensity make for dull reading. Carofiglio has done better.