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Sandrine's Case

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  522 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Thomas H. Cook offers one of his most compelling novels ever in Sandrine's Case, in which a college professor falls in love with his wife all over again...while on trial for her murder.

Samuel Madison always wondered what Sandrine saw in him. He was a meek, stuffy doctorate student, and she a brilliant, beautiful, bohemian with limitless talents and imagination. On the surf
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Mysterious Press (first published August 1st 2013)
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After reading this latest from Cook, I've come to realize that I just don't enjoy his books the way I used to. While it is generally entertaining, there are several issues which kept it from being up to the old standard to which Cook used to meet. The characters are annoying and just don't ring true. Cook has developed a bad habit of having them talk in ultra-sophisticated and intellectual ways that makes them seem unreal. Too many convenient flashbacks to odd memories that seem totally out of p ...more
There is an Ian Fleming story Quantum of Solace (not actually what the Bond film's based on) and in it the title refers to the small degree of comfort that can exist between two people emotionally in a relationship. The Governor character in the Ian Fleming short story of the same name defines it as “… a precise figure defining the comfort, humanity and fellow feeling required between two people for love to survive. If the quantum of solace is nil, then love is dead.” What we have in Sandrine's ...more
Thomas H. Cook is one of those extraordinary authors who are able to write prose like poetry expressing a keen appreciation of the human condition. A murder trial in a smalltown Georgia courtroom provides the setting for this story which is told by an author who knows how to play the Pied Piper to his readers. For years Cook has been appreciated by the trade magazines, newspapers and his peers in the mystery world, as well as those readers seeking a well thought out, refined, captivating read. H ...more
Diane S.
Thomas Cook is an author that I think never quite garners the attention he deserves for his writing. I have read all or most of all his novels and while there are some I liked more than others, they were all well written in his own particular style.

This book is amazing, brilliantly structured about a man on trial, for the murder of his wife. What we learn about their marriage, their relationships with others, their work and family life, their hopes and dreams, we learn throughout the trial. It
4.5 stars. An excellent read! We are in the courtroom with Professor Sam Madison who is on trial for the murder of his wife Sandrine. He listens as the prosecution presents the case against him and comes to the shocking realization that he could actually be convicted of murdering his wife. His world has crumbled and he is crumbling also. Bit by bit as he ponders his current situation and reflects on his recent and early relationship with Sandrine he sees how he lost the person he once was and mo ...more
SANDRINE’S CASE. (2013). Thomas H. Cook. ****.
Cook is a marvelous writer, and this one displays his talent to the best advantage. Although the story is mostly set in a courtroom, this is not a legal thriller. It is a sensitive exploration of a marriage, and what went wrong with it. We meet Sam and Sandrine Madison. They have been married for many years, and have a lovely house in a small college town in Georgia. They both teach at the college. Sandrine learns that she has Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a
Satisfied! That's the feeling I had as I read the last page of Sandrine's Case. Quiet applause to Thomas H. Cook as tears welled in my eyes for this emotional story of a marriage. There have been several books dissecting the state of holy matrimony this past year. In some the characters have been so unreliable you don't know who to believe. Not the case here. Cook's marital partners are all too real and honest though it takes patience and thought to see each for who they are.

The Madison's, Sand
Feb 08, 2014 KarenC rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to KarenC by: Edgar nomination

My first book by Cook. I was not encouraged. Some of the traits that I disliked most in the character of Samuel Madison and in the book provided an accurate reflection of Madison's character: pedantic, verbose, aloof, self-centered.

The plot is focused around the trial of Samuel Madison for the murder of his wife, Sandrine. Many chapters begin with the courtroom examination of a witness as the county prosecutor presents his case against Madison. Each witness brings up some situation that causes

Nancy Oakes
Perhaps I shouldn't just automatically go lumping Sandrine's Case into the category of crime fiction. I suppose it could be labeled as "courtroom drama," as noted on a back-cover blurb, but in my head that brings to mind something à la John Grisham, which this book is most definitely not. No, this one is tough to pigeonhole, so I won't even try. In this novel, by one of my favorite writers, the reader doesn't even know if there has even been a crime, although the majority of the action takes pl ...more
Bonnie Brody
Sandrine's Case by Thomas Cook is an interesting novel about the death of a 46 year-old woman named Sandrine. Was it suicide or was she murdered by her husband Sam? The novel's structure is in the form of a courtroom drama and takes place on each day of the trial with each witness testifying for or against the accused. During the course of the trial, Sam reminisces about Sandrine and their original meeting and love affair, the early days of their marriage and Sandrine's personality. He also cons ...more
Brilliant! Thomas Cook has done it again. He is an incredibly talented writer and a joy to read. Sandrine's Case is the story of college professor Sam Madison who is on trial for the murder of his wife, Sandrine. The book is set up as a courtroom drama (for use of a better word) with flashbacks throughout of Sam and Sandrine's life together. Cook's prose is masterful and the book is littered with fantastic literary images and comparisons. The book shows how marriage is entered into with love and ...more
This was a very interesting and enjoyable story, told by Samuel Madison during his trial for the alleged murder of his wife Sandrine.

I loved the exquisite writing, although at times overwritten and verbose, and the manner in which the story flowed from past to present, from court room to home, motel room to neighbors house, from Mediterranean travel to backyard gazebo. A symphony of words comes to mind as I could feel the relationship of Sam and Sandrine evolving over time and their marriage tw
David Kinchen

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. -- Leo Tolstoy, opening sentence of "Anna Karenina."

One of the joys of book reviewing is discovering a new -- to the reviewer -- author at the height of his or her powers. It's also a source of frustration when the reviewer discovers the author has been around for a long time! The situation is unavoidable because one person -- even a voracious reader like the present reviewer -- can read only so many books.

I found my
I was enthralled with this book and found the story to be chock full of contrasts, conflict, and even contradiction. Samuel Madison is on trial for the murder of his beautiful wife Sandrine who had recently been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. The brunt of the book takes place in the courtroom, and inside Sam's head. His streams of consciousness, his observations and ruminations all make for good reading.

To me the contrasts were plentiful; the beauty and brilliance of Sandrine versus the or
Needs Improvements – 2 stars

Sandrine’s Case was a disappointing read for me. I’ve read other books with similar themes/storylines (courtroom/trial, setting; husband accused of killing his wife) that were done better and lived up to expectations. The storyline was boring; or maybe it was just the narrator as I listened to the audiobook and the voiceover never really grabbed me. But, this could have been because the plot just wasn’t that engaging and he had very little to work with.

The characters
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I think this is one of Thomas Cook's best books to date. It is the story of a marriage and a tragedy, but the way Mr. Cook develops the characters just hit me like a punch in the stomach so to speak. Sam Madison is on trial for the murder of his wife, Sandrine. But that being the basic plot, the story is so very much more than that. The central issue surrounding the plot is human kindness, and how a person may lose that quality, and then with great fortune and great love, regain that very qualit ...more
Michele Whitecotton
This was an excellent novel mixing mystery with the courtroom and I loved it. It is the story of Sandrine, diagnosed with ALS, and the trial to determine whether she committed suicide or whether her husband killed her. I can't tell too much of the plot or it will give it away because there is definitely an OMG moment when the lightbulb switches on and everything is clear. The story is most told in the courtroom while listening to the prosecutor call witnesses as Sandrine's husband can't possibly ...more
Wonderful writing and suspenseful....I only wish we had been allowed to know the characters a little better....I didn't really "feel" their pain.
Wow. Just wow. Just read it. Don't read the cover notes, don't read the reviews. Just read the book.
Carl Brush
Sam Madison's beautiful wife, Sandrine, is dead, and he's on trial for her murder. He's a literature professor in a small college in a small Georgia town which he despises. Thomas H. Cooke's skillful and sensitive takes us through the ten days of the trial--Madison the narrator--and through the years of their courtship and marriage. "I know what I did," Madison says at the beginning. But we don't. We're pretty sure it wasn't murder, but maybe it was an assisted suicide (she had (spoiler alert) A ...more
Oswego Public Library District
Was it suicide or murder? In this psychological legal thriller, a seemingly idyllic marriage between two college professors is unraveled in the courtroom. Sam is on trial for murdering his wife; he is easy to dislike. Even though his wife Sandrine dies at the beginning, she is a very big character in this story; she is moody and hard to read. Did she kill herself to avoid her disease? Did Sam kill her to avoid her debilitating condition? With relentless, yet slow-burning pressure, the truth is p ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Sandrine’s Case, by Thomas H. Cook, a-minus, Narrated by Brian Holsopple, Produced by High Bridge Company, Downloaded from

This is a riveting novel, although not a very convincing court trial. The narrator used a particularly grating voice for the prosecutor, I think on purpose. Publisher’s note describes this pretty well so I’ll include it here.
Samuel Madison always wondered what Sandrine saw in him, he a meek, stuffy doctorate student and she a brilliant, beautiful bohemian with li
Gloria Feit
There have been many novels depicting, describing and analyzing criminal courtroom cases. Some are narrated by lawyers, a la Grisham. Others by p.i.’s. Some even by witnesses, prosecutors or just plain old cops. Rarely has there been a novel from the point of view of the defendant, learning more about himself as the testimony unfolds. Yet that’s what this book is all about.

The novel is a detailed analysis of a man, Sam Madison, who is charged with murdering his wife, Sandrine. The two were profe
College professor Sam Madison returns from teaching a class and finds his wife, Sandrine, dead. She had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The police question Sam and with some questions about Sam's nonchalant attitude and other things, they arrest him for murder and trying to stage it as suicide.

The story goes on to Sam's trial and Sam narrates it. We learn of the character's testimony as Sam relates it. As the trial progresses, Sam's mind wanders and he thinks about times in his and Sand
Another finalist for the Edgar awards, Sandrine's Case is an interesting novel; I read it in a day, wanting to look at the end but resisting. It's told in first person by Sam Madison, who is accused of murdering his wife Sandrine, who was dying of ALS. The story is told from Sam's viewpoint, so it is introspective, as Sam endures the prosecution at his trial and spends much time reviewing his life and his relationship with his wife. We learn much about Sam, but also a lot about Sandrine and thei ...more
Sue Davis
Definitely a tale of redemption. Also, almost seems like a satire of academic life: Madison is forced to resign because his presence at the college might interfere with the fundraising campaign to build a new sports complex. The young-on-his-way-to-better-places president explains it without remorse. Also, who was Sandrine's close male friend? It couldn't have been the beige nobody, thinks Madison with such disdain--that nobody was, after all, an associate professor.
Lynn Shurden
It's been years since I've read a Thomas Cook book and I must say I don't know what made me stop reading his books. Sandrine's Case was such an insightful book into how marriages change and what makes us act as we do. And I'm still not certain of whether he killed Sandrine or not. Cook's command of the language and references to various literary works lets the reader know what a learned person he is. And it is so nice to read an author who writes well.
Judith Kirscht
The genius of this book is the gradual unearthing of character and relationships. Sam Madison is on trial for the murder of his wife, Sandrine. As the prosecution unfolds the details of her death and the evidence against him, Sam relives their marriage. From the awkward doctoral student blown away by the love of the beautiful Sandrine, to their lives as professors at a small college and the brilliant rise of Sandrine as a Cleopatra scholar, to his own failure to write the novel that was his life ...more
Ellen Keim
Not one of my favorites by this author. It was mostly the main character daydreaming about his relationship with his wife while his trial for her murder was going on.

It was really hard to engage emotionally with the main characters (Sam, Sandrine and their daughter, Alexandria) mainly because they didn't seem that emotionally engaged with each other. And it didn't help that most of what we see of their relationships is told in flashbacks through Sam's eyes only.

I understand that Sam is presente
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Thomas H. Cook has been praised by critics for his attention to psychology and the lyrical nature of his prose. He is the author of more than 30 critically-acclaimed fiction books, including works of true crime. Cook published his first novel, Blood Innocents, in 1980. Cook published steadily through the 1980s, penning such works as the Fra
More about Thomas H. Cook...
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“a horribly protracted death that would stretch into the indefinite future, a death not in one month or two or even three but one that might go on and on, with the whole process of dying getting worse every single day for years and years and years.” 0 likes
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