THE BAXTER TRUST by J.P. Hailey

THE BAXTER TRUST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hailey's fast, trendy, and mostly funny debut novel--a tale that involves a lawyer trying his first case; an alibi that uses window-shopping at Saks to cover up a $100 coke buy; a witness who cavorts naked for heavy-breathers; and a motive that hinges on a trust fund, the principle beneficiary of which can be bypassed if a morals clause is breeched. . . Sheila Benton, accused of murdering blackmailer Robert Greely (""I KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU,"" he said over the phone and in a letter), hires Steve Winslow--from his ad in the Yellow Pages--to defend her. What has she done that Uncle Max, executor of the multimillion-dollar Baxter Trust, would disapprove of? Snort things up her nose. Romp with a married boyfriend. Hardly worth killing over, thinks Winslow, who then sets out to see who's setting her up--and why. But first he cons Uncle Max into paying his retainer (Sheila won't come into the bulk of her money for another dozen years); coaches his client in truth-telling; enrages a naked lady; and brushes up on proper trial etiquette by rereading Perry Mason. Next it's on to outwitting D.A. Harry Dirkson--with a defense that owes little to logic, almost nothing to facts, and much to showmanship and jury grandstanding. Meanwhile, Sheila, clearing out of her coke fog, drops bombshells--or what turns out to be incendiary material--after Winslow investigates: to wit, who her daddy was, where she and Cousin Phillip played show-and-tell the weekend her mom died, why Uncle Teddy was left out of the Trust. Soon, the Uncles Max and Teddy are dueling on a rooftop, the Greely case is cracked, and the married boyfriend departs for other marks. Truly outrageous legal high jinks overlaying an original plot concept--plus, Wilson is fun to be around.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1988
ISBN: 0000059854
Publisher: Donald Fine