Books: Admissible Evidence

THE RIVER GETS WIDER by R.L. GORDON 234 pages. Thomas Y. Crowell. $6.95.

Is John Andrews, a public paragon and Chief Justice of Canada's Supreme Court, guilty of manslaughter? Though this deftly constructed Canadian novel has all the familiar elements—suspense, surprise, a fine courtroom scene—it is as far from Perry Mason as classical tragedy is from melodrama. The narrator, who is also Andrews' lawyer, is concerned with the deep roots of culpability or innocence rather than simple detection. He reconstructs the Chief Justice's life, posthumously, through the impressions of people who knew him....