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 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.

 

 

 

 

Missing Alibi

This is the second book in the Faukon Abbey Mysteries series.  You may recall I reviewed the first in the series, Remember Me, in March this year.

Once again this story is written as a play, perhaps another Greek Tragedy and once again we meet DI Greene and his offsider DC Ford and their friend and journalist Jimmy Carter.

Carter goes to meet a mysteries and romance writer who has recently moved into the area.  He knows the house in which she lives as its previous owner was murdered. The writer knows this about the house and being intrigued decides it is a good plot for a story.

We find out that the writer’s husband does not spend much time in Faukon Abbey, preferring to spend weekdays in London with his mistress.  And we soon discover that this man is not all he pretends to be.

The writer is murdered and the police are making little progress in their investigations so once again, they call upon Jimmy Carter to assist them.  After all, he did know the murdered victim and perhaps she has said something to him during their long interview that could set them on the path of the murderer.

Meantime there is another death reported.  This time of a local farmer and while initially it is considered suspicious, it is determined to have been death from natural causes.

There are many twists and turns to this novel before we eventually find out who is the murderer.  A man, the murdered woman’s husband, who with his mistress is involved in a car accident while leaving his wife’s house in a car that was running out of brake fluid, a will that has been lost having been tampered with, the dead woman’s brother who suddenly appears after several years, the sister of the writer’s first husband, a solicitor who is acting rather strangely.

Yes, there are several potential perpetrators but it is not until the end that we find out who did it.  My only complaint is that much of what really happens is made clear to us by the characters who summarise the evidence and then reveal the culprit and the reason why.  This rather detracted from a cleverly conceived and executed story.

But having said that, this is a book that will keep you reading well into the night.  And now that it has been edited, it is an easy read.

Note – I was given a copy of this book to read and voluntarily post this review.

 

Remember Me?

Another author who is new to me – A K Lakelett and the first book in the Faukon Abbey Mysteries series is Remember Me?

This is a novel with a difference.  It’s written as a Greek Tragedy and what a tragedy it is for all those unlucky enough to become involved with Eric Warner. So we have, mystery, murder and mayhem as in all good Greek Tragedies.

The play opens with a body being found, sitting on the ground and resting against a tree in Tersel Woods.  The man has no identification, no wallet,  and no cell phone.  Added to that is the fact that the woman who called the emergency services has given an incorrect phone number and a non-existent address.  The police in the form of DI Peter Greene and DC Terry Ford, are baffled.

They call upon the reporter for the local paper, Jimmy Carter for help and a photo is printed in The Abbey Chronicle asking that anybody who knows who this man is to get in touch with the police.  From here comes a phone call from the manager of the local bank who recognises the photo as that of Eric Warner.

Warner and his second wife, the beautiful Estelle, have recently moved to the area with plans, according to Estelle, of starting a family.

But Warner is not as he seems.  He has a nasty, murky past and has left a well-hidden trail behind him. He has at least one former wife and it seems, a fairly long-term and disastrous relationship with another woman.  There were two children from the earlier marriage, one of whom dies in mysterious circumstances, and a daughter of the woman with whom he had the earlier relationship.

The story and its characters are well thought out, the characters are deftly drawn, places are well researched and in all, it is totally believable.

But to find out who did it, you’ll have to read the rest of the book.  For me?  I was completely baffled until the unveiling at the end, the Final Action.  This is only the first book in a new series, but one that will continue to get better, involving us more deeply into the three protagonists, Greene, Ford, and Carter.  I look forward to reading the second book.

Disclaimer – I received a copy of this book, enjoyed it and chose to review it.

The House

The House

Well,  thanks again to NetGalley I have just finished reading a book from another author new to me.

A young couple, Jack and Syd have been house hunting for a while.  They started out with a long list of must-haves and over the months,  as their offers on houses were declined, or somebody else made a better offer, the list dwindled.  So imagine how delighted they were when they found the house of their dreams that matched their original list and their offer was unexpectedly, accepted.

This house had everything they wanted, plenty of space, perfect location and in walking distance to the local shop and pub.  But the previous owner had packed up and gone to the other side of the world, Australia to be with a woman whom he met on the internet.  And in leaving, he had left the house complete with all its furniture and everything else from his life, to the lucky purchasers.

We learn about Jack and Syd and their relationship with each other and the house by a series of notes that each has made.  Syd is more enamoured of the house than is Jack who has some dark thoughts about the house and rapidly questions the Real Estate agent’s story of the vendor and his reasons for leaving everything behind.

Meantime, Syd meets and befriends Elsie a young girl who is obviously being abused by her father  Syd is sympathetic because she too suffered at the hands of her father until on the night before her 14th birthday when she left home never to return.  Unfortunately because of er leaving the father turns his attention o the younger sister and 2 months later her younger sister killed herself.  Syd feels responsible for this death and now includes Elsie in her feeling of responsibility.

We learn that Jack is a Social worker employed by the local Council and together he and Syd decide to try to help Elsie.  This ends in disaster as the Social Services can do nothing without proof and in fact, they only succeed in making things worse for the girl.

And the house?  Well, there’s a whole lot of strange things going on.  Strange noise in the night, odd smells, a dead cat in the attic, and a box of a young girl’s keepsakes, none of which can be easily explained away.

When Elsie’s father is murdered Jack becomes the prime suspect because he had threatened to kill the man following a drunken brawl at the local pub.

Meantime, Syd discoverers that her father has been released from jail and is once again living with her mother.   Syd discovers this by chance and is immediately concerned that her father will once again try to control her.

The twist in the tail (or the tale) when it comes is totally unexpected. Can this be the perfect murder?

Are you confused yet? I can only encourage you to read his very complicated, well-written story for yourself.    And like me, when you come to the end and all is revealed, you will no doubt take a deep breath and look around your own house with a different eye.

Disclaimer:  I downloaded this book from Netgalley.  I’m under no obligation to do so but choose to write this review,