Certain Justice (1999)
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[left]It seems to me that the point of this story is not, despite his appearance on the box, Commander Adam Dalgliesh. He is there merely to hold the story together as we explore the characters affected by the murder; I, for one, am morally certain that anyone could have solved this particular case, including half the characters in the story. Venetia Aldridge, holder of the "Solicitor with the Stupidest Name" cup, is a horrible, shrill woman who's been murdered in her office while her daughter is off with a man Venetia saved from a murder conviction. (We are left, by the end, with no doubt that he's guilty--even if we had any doubt going in, which I, for one, did not.) He's a creepy, evil little man. The daughter is clearly involved with him to tork off her mother, who--rightly--fears what this relationship will do, how it will end. None of the main characters in the story are wholly innocent. Venetia is incapable of caring whether her clients are actually deserving of prison or not; largely, they are, but she sees the laws as worth testing even when she is reasonably sure her clients are guilty. (I'm reasonably sure there's no plea bargain system in Britain; I'd rather she pleaded some of these guys guilty than went to trial.) She's defended rapists and murderers, and she's done an excellent job at getting them released. Now, I admire those capable of doing the job of defense attorney. I couldn't. It's a necessary job, even when the defendant is guilty. However, I do believe the job must include a concern for society as well as one's own client, and Venetia didn't seem to care. Maybe it was based on the trauma of having been named that; I can't say. At any rate, she named her daughter Octavia. And on the subject of Octavia, half the reason she stays with Gary Ashe, whom her mother knows to be a murderer, is that it really makes her mother angry. She has a relationship with her mother that might kindly be called "tempestuous," and she reacts harshly to her mother's suggestion that Gary isn't the dream lover Octavia wants to have found. (Here's a hint--if your boyfriend whisks you off to the country immediately after your mother dies and before her funeral, it's probably not an idea relationship.) After we find out what connection Gary had with the murder, we don't, or at least I didn't, care what happens from there, but there's easily ten or twenty more minutes of story. Honestly, I'd rather have sat down with the essay I have about the Seddon case, a true story that forms a background to the characters here. [/left]
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