Kevin Brace, Canada’s most famous radio personality, stands in the door of his luxury condominium, hands covered in blood, and announces to his newspaper delivery man: “I killed her.” His wife lies dead in the bathtub, fatally stabbed.
It would appear to be an open-and-shut case.
The trouble is, Brace refuses to talk to anyone – including his own lawyer – after muttering those incriminating words. With the discovery that the victim was actually a self-destructive alcoholic, the appearance of strange fingerprints at the crime scene, and a revealing courtroom cross-examination, the seemingly simple case takes on all the complexities of a hotly contested murder trial. Meantime, much to everyone’s surprise, the Leafs are making in unlikely run for the Stanley cup.
“… a masterful debut novel…In crisp, journalistic style, Rotenberg invests his tense cop procedural-cum-courtroom drama with the worries, foibles, beliefs, regrets, obsessions and idiosyncrasies of a multi-ethnic cast whose poignant familiarity never descends to caricature. With its unbroken realism and keen sense of atmosphere and place, from frenetic downtown to cookie-cutter burbs to rural Haliburton, Old City Hall adds a new feather to Rotenberg's cap.” - Winnipeg Free Press
“…the atmospherics, and especially Rotenberg’s affection for the city of Toronto and the involutions of the law, make this a fast-paced, appealing addition to the genre.” – Kirkus
“Breathtaking . . . A tightly woven spiderweb of plot and a rich cast of characters make this a truly gripping read. . . Robert Rotenberg does for Toronto what Ian Rankin does for Edinburgh.” - Jeffery Deaver
“An amazing debut. . . this one has winner written all over it.” – Nelson DeMille
“This is one of those novels where you only need to read the first chapter to be swept away.” – Douglas Preston
“Clever, complex and filled with an engaging cast of characters, Old City Hall captures the vibrancy and soul of Toronto” - Kathy Reichs
"Robert Rotenberg knows his Toronto courts and jails, he knows his law, and he knows his way around a legal thriller. Old City Hall is a splendid entertainment." - Andrew Pyper, author of The Killing Circle
“Old City Hall is a wonderfully written and intriguing murder mystery. “ -Edward L. Greenspan, Q.C.
'Apart from evoking the seasonal rhythms of life in the city, the novel offers a convincing portrayal of backstage operations in the justice system, from details about prison hygiene to the catering in the police cafeteria ... Old City Hall is an enjoyable addition to the literature of urban crime.” - Times Literary Supplement