Lilly Belle Rosemary Cleary, steel magnolia and attorney-at-law, has her eye on a partnership, but, oh, how a dead body can shift the focus.
When Lilly was 15, she gave her virginity to Dave Baggwell back in Georgia. That was a long time ago—before college, law school, the Sarasota firm of Smith, O’Leary, and Stanley, and Dave’s reappearance. Though she’s no longer in love with Dave, Lilly still loves him, and when he’s suspected of murdering a local winemaker, she clears her desk. Soon, however, there’s another murder victim to complicate her working day: this time, it’s Kenneth Mallory, the firm’s despicable, conniving partner. Suddenly Bonita, Lilly’s secretary and bosom bud, is acting like anything but—as if she has secrets to feel guilty about. Do those secrets concern Kenneth? Lilly thinks so, but the real questions are whether and how the murders are connected. Of course they are, and it’s clear that someone wants Lilly to back off before she finds out exactly how. That “message” snake planted in her car would have rattled most officers of the court, but never our Georgia girl, who cracks her case and protects her loved ones, proving that while “sometimes being a lawyer sucks,” there are the occasional good days.
Second-novelist Matturro (Skinny-Dipping, 2004) has an authentic charmer in Lilly. Next time she should toss her a meatier storyline.