The personal and professional lives of "working class lesbian barrister" Frankie Richmond collide in this noirish debut from British barrister Woodcraft, who provides a bleak view of abused women and the legal system that too often fails to protect them. Frankie defends lovely, rebellious Saskia Baron on a drunk and disorderly, but it soon becomes clear that Saskia is involved in a far more serious crime-though it's Frankie herself who faces a possible murder charge when the body of the creep who's been trailing Saskia turns up in a North London park with Frankie's car license plate beneath him. Frankie's falling for vulnerable nightclub singer Margo, who blows hot and cold, complicates her search for the elusive Saskia. The torching of the trailer where Saskia lies low and an incriminating credit card planted in Frankie's flat, as well as an unreliable car and a bank overdraft, add to the barrister's woes. Her love of pop songs, particularly Motown, helps buoy her spirits, as does her cheery single mum, whose success at romance stands in such contrast to her own. Relationships-between colleagues, friends and lovers, old and new-overshadow the detective work and account for all the story's surprises. Once Saskia no longer fears talking, the killer's identity and motive are out in the open, and the climactic confrontation with the menacing villain follows true to formula. In future outings one trusts the author will develop more skill at plotting as she hones her portrait of her rueful heroine.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Owing to circumstantial evidence, Frances "Frankie" Richmond, a lesbian British lawyer, stands accused of a murder she didn't commit. It all begins when she represents an old acquaintance named Saskia in court: Saskia walks, a suspicious man follows, Saskia bolts, and Frankie follows the man, who beats her up and then gets killed. After police charge her in the murder, Frankie tries to find Saskia, who seems to hold the key to it all. Frankie's lawyer friend Kay (an ex-lover), best friend Lena, and law-clerk Gavin provide welcome character subplots. Lively and imaginative, this first novel is highly recommended for most mystery collections as well as for gay/lesbian fiction collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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