DEAD MAN'S THOUGHTS by Carolyn Wheat


Email this review


By far the best thing about this mystery debut is lawyer Wheat's crisp evocation of the world of Legal Aid law in Brooklyn--especially the black-comedy and pathos of night court. Her heroine is Legal Aid attorney Cass Jameson, whose older lover/ colleague Nathan Wasserstein is found murdered in his apartment--apparently in the midst of an S/M homosexual liaison. Cass can't believe that Nathan had this secret sex-life. Moreover, she suspects that the murder is really connected with a client of Nathan's--a crook who turned informer against the Mob. . . and who himself promptly turns up dead, a supposed jail-cell suicide. Meanwhile, however, another of Nathan's clients--a teenage hustler--is arrested, and Cass winds up as his defense lawyer, doubly determined to prove the surly kid's innocence. And, after yet a third death (the prosecutor who was obsessed with nailing the Mob network that sabotaged all his cases), Cass ends up as the prisoner/victim of the evil, nicely surprising non-Mob villain. Some corny moments, especially at the end, and some implausible plotting--but an above-average first mystery overall, made distinctive by Wheat's no-nonsense savvy in writing about the shabby details and scruffy denizens of the Legal Aid/ night-court world.

Pub Date: July 5th, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's