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Scottoline's heroine Benedetta " Bennie"Rosato is back again, struggling to keep her small, all-female Philadelphia law firm afloat. Having won a case for a client who stiffed her and subsequently filed for bankruptcy, Bennie is pleased when Robert St. Amien walks into her office, wanting representation in a class-action suit. Though Bennie has no experience in that area, he convinces her to take his case because of her stellar reputation as a lawyer.
While this novel is billed as a mystery, the colorful characterizations add substantial depth to the story. Thirty-something Bennie sees herself as mother hen to her twenty-something associates, even as she tries to maintain her integrity in a field known for its unethical behavior. And the reappearance of Bennie's estranged identical twin, Alice, adds another dimension, as it becomes clear that Alice seems bent on destroying Bennie's good reputation.
With a back-alley murder, the mystery shines in full force. Bennie does her best to follow the clues to the killer, much to the dismay of the Philadelphia police. Does another class-action attorney want so badly to be lead council that he would kill for it, or is Alice so vengeful that she would resort to murder to help destroy her sister's floundering law firm?
Scottoline's own real-life experience as an attorney adds credibility to the legalese here, even as she acquaints the reader with the very likeable Bennie. Add a dash of romance in the form of handsome Navy SEAL David Holland, and you have a page-turning read. (Jun., 320 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed By: Sheri Melnick
Published: June 2003