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Set in Alabama, society lawyer Adam Shaw is married to the beautiful Kris Ann who has bound him to a life he despises and her father, Roland Cade, his senior partner and rival. When Shaw discovers Lydia Cantwell (a prominent society woman and close friend of Kris Ann and Cade) brutally murdered, his life takes on a new focus as he battles to clear Henry Cantwell of the charge of murder. In doing so, he digs up secrets from Lydia's past that will endanger his career, his marriage and his own well-being. It becomes increasingly evident that Lydia's death is inextricably linked to Shaw's own past and future.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099374312
ISBN-10: 0099374315
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 110mm x 15mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 1-Mar-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » In The Lasko Tangent (1978), Patterson lent a tart touch of narrative class to an otherwise routine Washington-conspiracy plot. And now, similarly, he shows glimmers of talent even as he tediously recycles a far more shopworn commodity: the inbred-community murder mystery that expands into a merry-go-round of uncovered secrets, psycho-sexual and otherwise. The victim here is Mrs. Lydia Cantrell, a society matron of Birmingham, Alu.; she's found strangled in her manse by narrator Adam Shaw-a northern Catholic lawyer (haunted son of a murdered cop) who has only recently become reasonably comfortable in his wife's WASPy social set or in the law firm of his domineering father-in-law. And among the suspects is Adam's dear friend Henry Cantwell, Lydia's book-loving husband - so Adam determines to do all he can to clear Henry of suspicion, which means exploring all possible angles. Could the murder be revenge for the long-ago miscarriage of justice perpetrated by Lydia's father against two black men? Did Lydia have a lover? Did Lydia's foul son Jason know that she was about to cut him out of her will? Why did the murderer mutilate a painting of Lydia and why did someone deal similarly with a picture of Adam's wife Kris Ann? In a series of talky scenes, Adam opens all these cans of worms, resulting in near-soap-operatic revelations of adultery, homosexuality, questionable paternity, alcoholism, bygone rape attempts, etc. And then, after Henry's suicide, there's a long, final, psychoobsessive revelation close to home which neither surprises nor convinces. Still, Patterson reaffirms his knack for dialogue (though there's much too much of it here) - and if he can break out of contrived genre writing, he may yet produce suspense of distinction. (Kirkus Reviews)

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