THE DEMOLISHED MAN
|ex-ChUSFA: stamp on first inside page, page 85. MORE INFO|
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester's first SF novel (1953.) Originally serialized in Galaxy January to March 1952. Winner of the first Hugo award - in 1953. Here's the flap-copy from a hardcover, which gives a reasonable summary or set-up:
By the 22nd century, telepaths are the elite professionals in a variety of well-paid fields. Government, medicine, the social sciences and many other disciplines have benefited from "Esper" contributions. Of all human occupations, only crime has not profited from the science of telepathy.
All 111,000 Espers are exemplary citizens. As members of the all-seeing Esper Guild, they are bound by a Pledge requiring the highest of ethical standards. Wrongdoing is inevitably punished by ostracism... a living death for Espers, who need contact with their own kind in a way that others can never fully understand.
Lincoln Powell is a telepathic cop with a problem. The crime—murder. Powell knows the name of the killer... but not Ihe motive. And worse yet, he can't prove his case to the D.A., a crusty but fair-minded computer.
A hundred years before, such problems were commonplace. But in Powell's world of 2301 A.D., telepathic police stop murder before it occurs. There had not been a single murder in 87 years ... until now.
Ben Reich is one of the richest, most powerful men anywhere, with a range of influence that includes three planets and a trio of moons. A man of immense personal charm and extraordinary talents, he is also a psychotic murderer... without obvious motive. His talents, madness and power make him a unique and deadly threat to humanity unless he can be stopped.
Telepathic evidence is inadmissible in a court of law. Lincoln Powell must go to the only source of the facts that will bring Reich to Demolition ... the tortured mind of the suspect himself. The deeper Powell probes, the more he finds to like and admire in Reich ... and the more to fear. The painful task is further complicated by Reich's power and position ... and by his accomplice, a renegade Esper with ambitions of his own ... and powers at least the equal of any member of the Esper Guild.