BREACH OF TRUST by Bonnie MacDougal


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 A sturdy, soapy legal saga swirling around the plundering of a fat Philadelphia trust. The one thing everybody agrees on is that Scott Sterling, a fair-haired associate at Harding & McMann authorized to administer both the trust of the late Elizabeth Mason Chapman and the market trading account of Curtis Mason, her brother and trustee, plunged heavily in Mason's account and covered his losses by looting the trust. When the dust is cleared by Scott's tearful confession to Dan Casella and Jennifer Lodge, the attorneys Harding & McMann have hired to pull them out of this mess, nearly $2 million has made its way from the Chapman trust to the trustee's private account. But how ignorant was Mason about what Scott was doing? When Mason refuses to return the money to the trust and sues Harding & McMann instead, Casella and Lodge wonder if Scott hasn't been set up by Mason as the cat's paw in his scheme to raid the trust. By the time the case goes to trial, Dan and Jenny have tumbled into bed and then out, hard, and Jenny's living platonically with Scott, whom she bitterly (and mendaciously) identifies to Dan as the father of her forthcoming baby; and she's also started to build a formidable career at a rival firm by holding her nose and doing whatever it takes (vide a particularly trenchant prÇcis of her Machiavellian first case). In the courtroom, Dan's bulldog questioning builds enough sympathy for Scott to win him an acquittal over the foaming rage of Mason, who's promptly (some might say finally) murdered, raising new problems for Dan, Jenny, and Scott--the obvious suspect, though there are plenty of others, from Elizabeth Chapman's mild widower to her unexpectedly take-charge daughter and legatee. A little creaky, a little sudsy, but an unusually well- balanced debut--if the financial defalcations don't hook you, the romantic triangle will--packed with more breaches of trust than you can shake a subpoena at.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-671-53720-2
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1996