THE CAVEREL CLAIM by Peter Rawlinson


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Recently widowed Lady Andrea Caverel lives on the English estate called Ravenscourt with her small son Francis. Husband Robin died in an auto accident nine months ago, and now there’s another painful development Lady Andrea must face: a beautiful young American black woman is claiming to be Fleur Caverel, daughter of the family’s elder son Julian and therefore the rightful heir to Ravenscourt and the Caverel fortune. Fleur was doing her striptease act in a Paris club when a newspaper ad alerted her manager and club owner Paul Valerian to the possibility of a windfall based on her parentage. Sleek lawyer Michael Stevens and his unscrupulous p.r. man, Willoughby Blake, are brought in, but they quickly see the coarse-grained Valerian as a handicap to their case. Valerian dies conveniently—under a train in the London underground, right after a drunken tiff with Blake’s flunky Richard Jameson. The case comes to court in a flurry of publicity drummed up by Blake. Representing Fleur is distinguished lawyer Sir Percy Braythwaite, while Andrea and son are represented by crotchety, humpbacked Mordecai Ledbury, famously formidable at cross-examination. Overseeing it all is Judge and Vice-Chancellor Sir Robert Murray, a truculent but essentially fair-minded Scot. The reader is in for some first-class legal fireworks and a suspense-packed windup to a story in which every character comes alive. A splendid fifth novel (Indictment for Murder, etc.) from Rawlinson, himself a former Lord Chancellor.

Pub Date: Dec. 10th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-19343-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1998