The Simeon Chamber

Steven Martin, Author Dutton Books $17.95 (315p) ISBN 978-1-55611-103-7
If one can be cheerfully jaded, Sam Bogardus, attorney-at-law, fits the bill in this intriguing first novel by Martini, a lawyer himself. Using his professional skills to authenticate the slick plot, he captures the reader's attention in a chilling prologue to this provocative murder mystery set in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bogardus is the law partner of his former lover, though the relationship is now platonic. Bored, he takes on elegant Jennifer Davies as a client. She has fallen heir to an ancient, valuable document belonging to her father, which surfaced 33 years after he mysteriously disappeared in a 1942 Navy blimp crash. When Bogardus discovers the literary legacy is probably an excerpt from lost diaries of 16th century explorer Sir Francis Drake, word of the find leaks out and the net closes on Davies and Bogardus. Willing to kidnap, maim and kill to possess the papers, his covetous adversaries unwittingly lead the counselor to San Simeon, William Randolph Hearst's castle, where he unearths a startling wartime black-market scandal. Events that stretch the imagination emerge here, but Martini's enthusiasm keeps the reader engrossed. A fast read, the novel provides a peek at the Bay environs, its interesting past and, finally, ``history's cruel irony,'' which brings the story to a stunning finale. (October)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-944276-57-0
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