Mrs. Malory and the Only Good Lawyer: 0

Hazel Holt, Author Dutton Books $22.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-525-94151-4
Amateur sleuth Sheila Malory returns (after Mrs. Malory and the Death of a Dean, 1996) in an uncharacteristically lackluster eighth outing. Sheila and her grown son, Michael, steel themselves for the annual visit of attorney Graham Percy, an irritating boyhood friend of the late Mr. Malory. Several days into the stay at Taviscombe, Graham fails to return from his morning stroll by the sea. When his stabbed body is discovered, Sheila resolves to investigate and soon learns that Graham may have been involved in blackmail. She finds out that the dead man made annual visits to three other old school chums--a teacher, a writer and an invalid actor--who may also have been his clients. They, along with Graham's nephew, who's his only relative and heir, and a number of disgruntled co-workers, comprise the list of suspects. As Sheila aids the local chief inspector, another death shocks the village of Taviscombe. While Holt's sleuth remains as charming and politely inquisitive as ever, many in this supporting cast are cardboard figures. The ending, with its unprepared-for explanation of the killer's motivation, is a further disappointment. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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