Saturday, November 21, 2009
I enjoy courtroom dramas--I think even more than basic detective who-dun-its. Barbara Holloway, the defense attorney in Kate Wilhelm's wonderful series, is really beginning to hit her stride in this episode (it's the third in the series) as she builds a defense for the accused-a real estate mogul whose wife had an affair with the congressman he is accused of murdering. Barbara was at first hired to defend their severely retarded son (a 20something year old who has the mental capacity of an 8 year old.) When Barbara finds an eyewitness to verify the boy's alibi, the DA turns to the father instead.
There is a marvelous cast of characters: a polyester clad investigator, a bubbly young attorney helping Barbara, , some truly nasty bad guys, the accused's wife and other grown children, and above all, in an almost equal starring role, Frank Holloway- Barbara's widowed father (the senior semi-retired partner in the firm) who happens to be an avid gardener and very talented cook.
To make it all really interesting, the case is being presided over by a judge who seems to have a real prejudice against the defense, and who keeps restricting Barbara's ability to present information she feels is important.
Finally there's the love interest--the mine inspector whom she hired to get some more detail on what the deceased congressman might have been investigating. His scarred face, laconic sense of humor and questionable past might almost be at home in a pulp bodice ripper, but...this guy has great motivation, his character is well developed, and Barbara falls hard. It's a dynamite story with twists, turns, ups, and downs. I thought I had it solved twice, and was wrong both times. This series is a great one, and I hope that the next ones continue to be as good as the earlier ones.