Philadelphia’s favorite all-female law firm is back with a case that poses refreshingly little danger to life, limb or professional ethics.
Nobody would be more surprised than Mary DiNunzio (Killer Smile, 2004, etc.) to hear that she’s the rainmaker at Rosato & Associates. True, her lawsuits on behalf of neighbors with bad roofs or schoolchildren with special needs, and her legal advice to the Dean Martin Fan Club of South Philly when they contemplate action against the Sinatra Social Society, will never make her rich. But her billable hours are through the roof, and Judy Carrier, her associate and best bud, thinks Bennie Rosato should make her a partner—until Trish Gambone walks through the door. Mary’s high-school nemesis has become a beautician who’s finally found a bigger bully than she is: low-level Mob soldier Bobby Mancuso, who alternates between skimming from the heroin payments that pass through his hands and beating the tar out of the woman he hopes to make his wife. Trish won’t run away from her abuser; she won’t apply for a protective order against him; she won’t do anything except wail that Bobby’s going to kill her on her birthday, which happens to be that very day, and that Mary is no help. Trish vanishes overnight, leaving Mary with a major case of guilt and an immediate future crystal-clear to fans of the Rosato franchise (Daddy’s Girl, 2007, etc.)—trouble with the cops, trouble with her client’s family and Mean Girl friends and trouble with her boss, who gives her an ultimatum: Forget about Trish or leave the firm. If you can’t predict Mary’s choice, you must be new around here.
As usual in Scottoline’s recent cases, the opening movement is the best. This time, the half-hearted mystery is upstaged by Mary’s pleasantly unlikely romance.