A good poker player is also a good actor. Rita Morrone is certainly a good poker player and brings her acting skills to her day job as a fast thinking and tough trial lawyer in Philadelphia.
However the acting takes a low priority when she becomes defence lawyer to her prospective father-in -law, Fiske Hamilton, who is charged with sexual harassment of his young female private secretary. Soon after the first charges are laid, the private secretary is found murdered and so opens another chapter more sinister and deadly than what went before. Fiske is the prime suspect but as the tale unfolds other characters enter the frame as possible perpetrators, amongst them her fiancé Paul Hamilton. When her own father is the subject of a violent attack, the case becomes even more personal for Rita than it was already. There are more suspects, more players, more motives, more unknowns and consequently an even greater web of mystery.
As is the case in many of Scottoline's books the heroine, the lady lawyer, rapidly assumes the role of sleuth, leaving her legal role to play second fiddle to the built-in cop, her alter-ego. Rita gets tangled in a web of intrigue, conspiracy and mystery as she tries to establish the truth. Her life is in danger through her own actions as she delves more deeply into the mystery towards the final chapters. There are times when her activities really do stretch the limits of credibility but, in a work of fiction, this goes with the territory. However, with several characters having possible motives the reader is challenged (in Agatha Christie style) to try and untangle the riddle of whodunit.
A great touch in the writing is the frequent use of double dialogue in which Rita first thinks the words she wants to use but then utters the ones most appropriate, often the opposite. Example one: Paul: "Aren't two heads better than one?" Rita (Not when I want to knock yours off.) "I don't think so. If I need help we have investigators at the firm." Example two: Journalist: "Is the judge guilty Miss Morrone?" Rita (Your guess is as good as mine, bucko.) "Absolutely not. My client is innocent of any and all charges against him."
This is a light and easy read, entertaining and with enough surprises to hold the reader's attention throughout.
Another solid book from Scottoline keeps you guessing tell the end.