Friday, January 18, 2008

Pg. 99: Natasha Cooper's "A Greater Evil/Evil is Done"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Natasha Cooper's A Greater Evil/Evil is Done.

About the book, from the author's website:

Abandoned as a baby and brutalised in care, sculptor Sam Foundling is the obvious suspect when his wife is beaten to death in his studio. Trish Maguire, who acted for him when he was a child, hopes he didn't do it. Her campaign on his behalf brings her up against DCI Caro Lyalt, the senior investigating officer and her own closest friend. At the same time, she has a job to do: acting for a huge insurance company that is fighting to avoid shelling out millions of pounds to shore up a magnificent but shaky building.

Powerful people want Sam charged. Trish knows that whether he did it or not she has to find out exactly what happened in his studio on the day his wife died if she is to save his reason.

Among the praise for the novel:
"The eighth Trish Maguire mystery (after 2005's Gagged and Bound) finds the intrepid London barrister once again sympathizing with a suspected killer. This time it's sculptor Sam Foundling, Trish's long-ago client, who reappears in her life just before his pregnant wife, Cecilia Mayford, is brutally slain in his studio. Trish's defense of Sam and inclusion of him in her Christmas plans puts her on the outs with her friend Chief Insp. Caro Lyalt, who must find the killer to redeem the tarnished reputation of the police. The small-world aspects pile on when Trish's long-term boyfriend George, a solicitor, learns that his firm is working on a project that involved both Trish and the murdered woman. The blustery depictions of wintertime London and heartbreaking domestic strife will still leave readers shivering and glad for another one of Cooper's trademark warm and happy endings."
--Publishers Weekly

"When a pregnant woman is badly beaten and dies, her husband is suspect. Barrister Trish Maguire (Gagged and Bound, 2005, etc.) and loss adjustor Cecilia Mayford, a respected judge's daughter married to talented sculptor Sam Johnson, one of Trish's former clients, are working on a case of structural insufficiency. Sam, once an abandoned baby mistreated in a foster home, comes to Trish for help when he receives a letter purporting to be from his mother, who's awaiting trial for infanticide. That same day, a badly injured Cecilia is taken to the hospital, where her baby is saved but she dies. Trish has no reservations about Sam's innocence, but his mother-in-law isn't so sure, and Trish's friend Caro, newly appointed to the murder squad, is certain he's guilty. The case is marked by some long coincidences. Trish's boyfriend George is a solicitor in trouble with his partners because of possible conflict of interest with Trish on the case of the dilapidated building. Judge Mayford never told Cecilia who her father was, and she's shocked to find out she had known him for years and met with him the day she died. And Cecilia's boyfriend from the university works for the firm that designed the building involved in the lawsuit. Though the police are pressed to arrest Sam, Trish sifts through alternative possibilities and hopes Caro will take another look. A suspenseful, angst-ridden page-turner."

Read more about the author and her work at Natasha Cooper's website.

A new Trish Maguire novel, A Poisoned Mind, is due out soon in the UK and this summer in the US.

Last year Cooper chaired the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival; learn more about that event from Ali Karim's dispatch at The Rap Sheet.

The Page 99 Test: A Greater Evil/Evil is Done.

--Marshal Zeringue