Dead Lawyer on Aisle 11

dead

Another one from John Ellsworth, but this time with a different lawyer, one Michael Gresham.  Gresham has changed sides from defending to prosecuting.  And he does very well in this different role.

Linda Burrows is a lawyer employed by the US Attorney’s office, a job she is well qualified for.  In fact, her second husband a policeman who was acquainted with Niles Boudreux, the Senior Assistant US Attorney, recommended her for the job.

All goes well.  Linda loves the job and gets on well with her boss, according to her husband, maybe too well. Because of the jealousy and his rage, Linda and her husband, Harry divorce and life goes on for each of them separately.  Linda and Bourdreux begin an affair and he asks her to marry him.  She refuses with a laugh and continues her promiscuous ways and has affairs with several of her co-workers.  When she finds herself pregnant she faces her boss, claiming he is the father.  He reiterates his offer of marriage but again she refuses and demands he pay for an abortion. The alternative is she will sue him for sexual harassment.

Niles decides that he cannot allow that knowing the effect it would have on his career and so plots how to get rid of her and the child.  The result is she is murdered one day when in the local grocery store.

Michael Gresham is tasked with finding the killer and so we move through his attempts with the help of his team, two members of the FBI, 2 members of the Metro PD, an investigator from the US Attorney’s office and Annie his savant adopted daughter.  The team follows all usual procedures interviewing staff members of the grocery store, fellow workers at her office, etc. without much progress.

And then, DNA proves that Gresham is the father of Linda’s unborn child which quickly makes him a suspect.

Michael is charged with murder and determines to solve the case apart from the official enquiry from which he is now barred.  and calls upon his old “standby” right-hand man Marcel to help.  Marcel is a top investigator and unravels a heretofore unknown eyewitness, but what she has to say completely unhinges Michael and his team.

Meantime his brother Arnie, another lawyer, resurfaces but while he cannot legally assist Michael in his defence he does know a good lawyer whom he calls and who agrees to assist.

Twists and turns aplenty in this book, and while I was convinced I knew who the murderer was almost from the start, all is revealed and I was completely after the wrong person.

I was given this book to read by the author and in return, I am posting this review.  I thoroughly recommend the book to my friends.

 

 

 

 

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A Young Lawyer’s Story

Young Lawyer

I have been a fan of John Ellsworth for some time and although I had already read this book I was pleased to be given the opportunity by the author, to read and review this, the first book in the Thaddeus Murfee series.

Thaddeus is finishing law school. He is in debt and has only $200 left of his student loan.  He must find a job or face eviction. Then unexpectedly he is approached by a couple of Government agents and offered a job.  The job isn’t advertised and as Thaddeus finds out once he has accepted the job, there is also no job description.

However, he accepts and is immediately offered a starting salary in excess of 6 figures.  He is delighted until he finds that he has been recruited and employed as a spy and the person he is to spy on is his boss, the US District Attorney.   And Thaddeus likes his boss and he particularly likes the boss’s daughter.

We follow Thaddeus through the intrigue, spying with foreign government agents, a boss who is accused of spying, and US government officials who will stop at nothing in their attempts to condemn the US District Attorney as a traitor, a charge that can carry the death penalty.

Thaddeus does not play by their rules and is fired but then comes to the aid of his ex-boss.

A great read and having read it so long ago, I was pleased to reread it.  I strongly recommend this book and those others I have read in this series.

Watch out for their reviews.

TALKING TO THE DEAD

Talking to the dead

This is the first book in the series featuring DC Fiona Griffiths.  You may remember that I reviewed the sixth book in the series a few weeks ago – The Deepest Grave.

Here we find Fiona being interviewed by a DCI having applied to the police for a job.

We then jump 4 years and Fiona is now a DC (Detective Constable) albeit a lowly one tasked with following up and completing the information on a policeman turned embezzler.  She finds this job particularly boring and frustrating and wants to be part of an investigation of a real crime.

And when a prostitute and her six-year old daughter are found dead in a Cardiff squat, Fiona feels very close to these two and decides to become involved in finding the murderer.  Her attempts and pleas to be included in the team working on the case are mostly over-ridden but eventually, she manages to convince her boss that she has particular talents that could be utilised here.

Fiona is paired with Jane Alexander, a detective of fairly long standing and it is made clear that Fiona is only the back up to Jane,

Because she is Fiona, and her mind doesn’t run along the train tracks, she does some investigations on her own and these investigations lead the two detectives to meetings with other prostitutes, many of whom have been badly beaten by their ‘handlers”.  And then another prostitute is murdered.   They had been hoping for some insight to the murders or murderers from this prostitute but she is killed before they can get to her.

The story goes through a round of organised crime, a millionaire who has died in a small plane crash, drugs, rough sex, people trafficking and through it all we have Fiona, sometimes working with the team and often on her own.

We meet her family, Mother, Father, and two sisters none of whom are at all like Fiona intellectually or physically.  We learn about the disease she suffered for a couple of years that involved her dealing. with several psychiatrists.  She describes psychiatrists as “hating mental illness and basically wanting to subdue the illness rather than treat the patient,”

And because of this illness, Fiona has never had a boyfriend, so here we are introduced to a possible boyfriend who may turn into a lover, although she has had a couple of lovers up to now.

This is a fascinating book; not easy to read as we feel for our protagonist who is marching to a different drum than most of us.    I am looking forward to the next book in the series and have reserved it from our local library.

 

 

 

 

Where the Sweet Bird Sings

 

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Loss, grief, uncertainty, and lies that impact on the family are all in this novel.

Emma and Noah are not quite coming to terms with the death of their small son and now Emma has to cope with the death of her beloved Grandfather. And on top of this Emma’s brother is raising questions about his parents and DNA.

This is not a particularly easy book to read as we go along with Emma through all these trials as she seeks to find herself and learn to accept her life and herself.

I was given a copy of this book to read and choose to write this review.

Die Easy

Die Easy is book No 10 in the series featuring  Zoe’s protagonist, Charlie (Charlotte) Fox

Die Easy

This time we find Charlie and her partner/lover in New Orleans to act as body guards to a wealthy investor from Florida.   Many people feel that New Orleans, the city and the people, have been ignored for too long and a celebrity fund raiser is planned.  This is the reason Blake Dyer, the client, is going to be in New Orleans at this time.

As may be expected, this job does not go smoothly and is complicated by the fact that Sean Meyer, Charlie’s partner, has not totally recovered from the devastating accident that put him into a coma for several months.  He has woken from the coma apparently recovered physically but there are large parts of his past that he doesn’t remember, including Charlie.

Even some of the skills at which Sean excelled before the accident seem to have deserted him/been forgotten and Charlie is not completely happy to rely on somebody who is not really at the top of his game to be part of her team.  However, she has no choice but to obey her boss when he says Sean is to be part of the close protection team.

Without giving too much away, Charlie has to face an opponent from her past, deal with a threat not only to herself but also to Sean and more importantly the client while all the time not being sure whether she can rely on Sean to watch her back.  A robbery turned hostage situation develops around the fund raiser and while there are many close protection operatives on board the boat, Charlie is thrust into the lead role as the one to ameliorate the situation and get the passengers off the boat unharmed.  As usual, Charlie shows herself both physically and mentally able to cope with all that is put in her path but with some disastrous consequences.

So I urge you to get your hands on a copy of this book by fair means or foul – buy, borrow but perhaps I shouldn’t encourage you to steal – and set aside a Wednesday (or any other) afternoon to read this book.

Once again I commend Zoe Sharp on writing this book, her imagination and her characters.  I like to think of her as a friend.

Note – I have just placed a reserve at our library for the next and latest book in the series.  So watch this space for a review of Fox Hunter.

A Talent for Murder

Talent for Murder

 

For 11 days in December 1926, nobody knew where Agatha Christie was.  It has remained a mystery for all these years, that is until Andrew Wilson wrote his book, a Talent for Murder.The book is a result of a series of interview with Agatha Christie agreed to on the condition that the resultant book should not be published until 40 years after her death. So while this book is based on fact, there is certain fiction included as some of the protagonists were not available to be interviewed.  So to the book.

The book is a result of a series of interviews with Agatha Christie agreed to on the condition that the resultant book should not be published until 40 years after her death. So while this book is based on fact, there is certain fiction included as some of the protagonists were not available to be interviewed.  So to the book.

The book is written in the first person so we have some understanding of Christie’s thoughts at the time.

She has recently learned of her husband’s infidelity and so is distracted and feels she is being watched.  As a small girl, she had suffered from nightmares in which a gunman played a big part.  She is feeling the same kind of fear she felt then; but when she is pushed in front of an oncoming train at the Hyde Park station of the London Underground, and then rescued just as suddenly she begins to think the fear is not only in her imagination.

Her rescuer and attacker, is a Doctor who has a plan that he wants Agatha to carry out – namely the killing of his wife.  His thinking is that as the two women are unknown to each other, nobody would suspect Agatha of the murder.  Apparently, Doctor Kurs is a Christie fan and had just finished reading her latest book, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.  In fact, the doctor likens himself to Roger Ackroyd.

Kurs’ offer to Christie is that if she performs the dastardly deed, he will not go to the press with the story of her husband’s infidelity nor her brother’s drink and drug problems.  No physical harm would come to her daughter Rosalind, her brother or her husband.  Kurs describes in detail what his acquaintance could do to the 11-year-old Rosalind.

We are introduced to John Davison who works at Whitehall in the Civil Service and his companion Una Styles who really wants to be a writer.  These people want to help Christie whom they meet immediately following her meeting with Kurs.   And Davison also has been hoping to meet her and talk to her about helping in his department.

A plan is made by Kurs and followed out by Christie.  It is made to look like Christie has wandered away from a car accident and supposition is rife that she has been murdered or killed in the accident, or she has lost her memory and wandered away because if she is not dead or suffering memory loss, why would she not be in touch with her family.

The story has many twists and turns  Scary things arrive in the mail, there is the death of the young Una Styles who is attempting to discover what has happened to Agatha Christie.  There is a Police Superintendent who is determined to find the body and therefore, solve a murder. It is very much a Christie-type story.

This book has only just been published but if you can get hold of a copy, and if you are an Agatha Christie fan (as am I) then you will enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

The Munich Girl

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This is another book about World War 2 and the legacies that outlast any war. This is the story of a Munich Girl who in fact, was Eva Braun Hitler’s mistress and the friendship between two women that began as young girls and survived through all the barbarity and ugliness of war.
We are introduced to the story by Anna a young married woman who lives in New Hampshire with a self-indulgent husband for whom she puts everything aside. After her mother’s death, she finds a hidden treasure of mementoes of the war and begins to find out more about her mother and her secret, elusive friend. After surviving a horrific accident in a burning plane, during which her (unfaithful) husband dies, Anna decides to find out more about her mother’s life during those years in wartime Germany. It’s a book to make you think and although it’s fiction, it led me to find out more about the elusive Eva Braun and her place in Hitler’s life. I thoroughly recommend this book.
Note – I was given a copy of this book by the author to read and in exchange, I choose to post this review.

The Deepest Grave

I have just seen it is a month since I wrote a review.  During that month I have read many books but have been dilatory in reviewing them.  Apologies.

So today I will start with an author and his protagonist both new to me.

The Deepest Grave

The Deepest Grave is the 6th book in the series but not having read the earlier books didn’t faze me or stop me from enjoying the book.

We are introduced to DC Fiona Griffiths, a young detective based in Wales who had suffered from and still might suffer from Cotard’s Syndrome.  I didn’t know what that was either but Wikipedia tells us “Cotard delusion is a rare mental illness in which the affected person holds the delusional belief that they are already dead, do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs.”

So we know that this young detective doesn’t have an easy life.

However, it has been months since there was a murder in Cardiff and now comes the news of a corpse that has been decapitated with an ancient sword and the murder scene has been staged like a clue in a crossword puzzle.  The victim, Gaynor Charteris,  is an archaeologist working on a dig in Dinas Powys.  That and the other names are unpronounceable to this Anglo Saxon but they all sound magical.

Charteris is apparently well respected and well liked so it was hard to understand why anyone would kill her and in this particularly gruesome way.

Fiona’s boss, Dennis Jackson is on leave and is temporarily replaced by Bleddyn Jones, a by the book inspector who really doesn’t know how to take Fiona and her activities, and in fact, doesn’t really like her.  That feeling is mutual.  We meet Fiona’s father Tom, who has a shady past but will do anything to protect his daughters.

Into the mix comes Katie the Anglo-Saxon, who has been working at the dig but who is suffering a terminal illness and in helping at the dig was hoping to get her PhD completed before the end.

These two women, Fiona, the Celtic-Britain and Katie the Anglo-Saxon form a deep friendship and work together to solve the mystery.

With them we are led on a journey as they uncover the plot to defraud,  there are some forged archaeological artefacts, and the case appears to go back all the way to King Arthur and Excaliber.

It is quite a long book and the ending is totally unexpected.  I recommend it.

I learned some new words, some things about archaeology and am off to the library to get another book in the series. Perhaps I shall start with book 1, Talking to the Dead and so will learn more about Fiona Griffiths.

Secrets Girls Keep

Secrets girls keep

I first read this book while lounging around in rehab last year.  And now another winter afternoon with time on my hands, so I reread it.  And I am glad I did.

I have read and loved all the Thaddeus Murphy books by this writer and I wondered could this new protagonist, Michael Gresham stack up.

Michael Gresham is a criminal lawyer working with his wife, Danny, his friend and confidant Marcel, who also acts as his researcher, and his secretary, Mrs Lingscheit making a tight little legal team.

We meet Michael at the Grand Jury Room in Chicago, or rather outside it as lawyers cannot enter the Room.  Gresham is here on behalf of his client, a thrice-elected sheriff who is being accused of and charged with embezzling public funds. Then suddenly, the client loses it and takes a woman hostage, dragging her into the Jury Room where he proceeds to threaten all those already there.

The hostage situation is overcome, negotiations completed, and the sheriff is taken off to jail.

But this is only a very small part of the story.  Gresham receives a call for help from his priest.  The priest confesses that years ago he had a sexual relationship with one of the congregation, and a boy was born.  He has had no dealings with the boy but has now heard that the boy is arrested for murder and he calls upon Michael Gresham to help.

In true John Ellsworth style, we are taken through a twisted and complicated plot to reach the surprise at the end.

Oh, and by the way, there is a foolish would-be drug dealer who is represented by Gresham, who manages to get the case dismissed when the arrested cocaine is shown to be missing from the police evidence room.

The trial scenes are evidence of an experienced criminal lawyer, all the characters are believable and on second reading, I enjoyed this fast paced book and will look for anther in the series.

 

 

The Other La Boheme

The Other Boheme

I have loved opera since being introduced to it by an early boyfriend when I was 17, and have been intrigued by the world of those who choose to make opera singing their career.  So when this book was offered on NetGalley I immediately downloaded it.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

Four long-time friends, all opera singers, commit to supporting each other through thick and thin and particularly on their journey to the top.  Stephanie, Henry, Jennifer, and John name themselves The Dolci Quattro.   We meet the four friends as they are performing in Leoncavallo’s La Boheme. a lesser known version of La Boheme, for a second-tier opera company.  They hope this will give them the necessary exposure and allow them to rise to a first-tier company.

Often singers have to work multiple jobs in order to pay for a voice teacher, to help develop the voice and a voice coach, to focus on specific performance music.  And Pere Momus, owner of Café Momus in Manhattan, a gathering place for connoisseurs of opera knew this and so he hired aspiring artists pursuing their dreams, as waiters and waitresses.

An opera singer’s voice is his/her only thing on offer but it is a fragile instrument that needs to be cared for.  It is easily affected and disturbed by emotion.  Concentration is lost and ways of coping, particularly on a performance day, have to be found.  The Dolci Quattro understood this and shared everything and when one was disturbed they pulled together to help.

The offer of steady employment to Henry in a job as an assistant professor to teach voice and to produce school operas causes much talk and deliberation before a decision is made.  Will he accept or will he follow his dreams?

We are offered an insight into the life of an opera singer and recognise how hard one must work to stay on track.  Thank you, Yorker Keith, for a very knowledgeable and entertaining glimpse into the life and world of aspiring opera singers.