THE QUEEN AGAINST KARL MULLEN by Michael Gilbert

THE QUEEN AGAINST KARL MULLEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From versatile veteran Gilbert: a moderately involving mixture of legal tactics, media maneuvers, and ambiguous politics--with all inklings of murder-mystery saved up until the last hundred pages. Karl Mullen, an unlikable South African security-chief, has come to England to try to extradite black ÇmigrÇ-writer-activist Jack Katanga--who's wanted back home for murdering a policeman. But before Mullen can start proceedings, he's arrested on a phony shoplifting charge--thanks, in part, to the machinations of a discreet but fanatic anti-apartheid organization based in London. Should Mullen go free via diplomatic immunity? Can he get a fair trial considering anti-Johannesburg sentiment? Those are the main issues bounced around by lawyers, newsmen, politicians, and schemers of various persuasions. But then Katanga (a key witness against Mullen) suddenly dies, nastily poisoned. So Mullen's the obvious suspect. The ensuing trial, however, reveals that others, too, had reason to wish Katanga dead. Gilbert's approach here could hardly be less ``politically correct'': Mullen's a swine, but the anti-apartheid crowd is just as bad, and Mullen's supporters (legal and journalistic) come off best. Also, the pacing and focus are often less than commanding. Nonetheless: solid, ironic work from a natural storyteller--with quietly effective courtroom drama and special insight into the legal/ethical fine points.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1991
ISBN: 0-88184-698-8
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991




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