Wilhelm's latest Barbara Holloway tale has a very strong plot and a number of deeply affecting conflicts. It harkens back to the bygone days of crime fiction in tone, yet has a very modern sensibility that should appeal even to those unfamiliar with the series.

A visit from her father's old friend Wally Lederer ends in attorney Barbara Holloway taking on a new client. An entertainer with admittedly light fingers, Wally's been accused of theft by Jay Wilkins, a figure from his past. Then Jay is murdered, and the police believe Wally is responsible.

But Jay's wife is also found dead -- possibly a suicide -- and that alone sets off alarm bells for Barbara. Everything is not as it seems, and unraveling this convoluted case should be its own reward, but the reverse is true -- at least for Barbara. (Mira, Sep., 384 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer