Sleight of Hand
(Barbara Holloway # 9)
by Kate Wilhelm
Paperback, published 2007
Gregarious Vegas entertainer Wally Lederer has a lucrative showbiz career, but when a childhood friend accuses him of stealing a valuable artifact, his checkered past comes back to haunt him. Wally claims he’s turned his life around since spending time in the slammer for picking pockets, but will the police believe him? More important, does Barbara believe him when he pleads his case to her?
Wally swears he’s innocent. But when his accuser is found murdered, Barbara knows Wally is in serious trouble—the police have named him as their prime suspect.
Barbara begins to dig up the dirt, and before long new evidence points toward an unlikely killer. Now Barbara must decide if protecting her client by revealing the truth will destroy another life she means to save.
Wally Lederer had been accused and had served time in jail for theft. Five years later, he was freed and vowed to never go back to his old stealing ways. He promised his wife he’d changed, because if he failed, Meg would readily divorce him.
Over the years, he’d kept to his promise and lived a good, clean life as an entertainer. One day, he chanced upon an old friend, Jay Wilkins and the two had a drink in his friend’s home. Things didn’t go well between the two when Jay accused Wally of stealing his golden horse statue. So he asked for his friend Frank Holloway’s help about this matter, but the old man refused, said that he no longer practiced criminal defense. His daughter Barbara stepped in.
When they were about to prove Wally’s innocence, Jay Wilkins was soon found dead – murdered. And every finger pointed to Wally, given his history and recent fight with the victim. Was Wally guilty as charged? Or not?
I’ve read a couple of Barbara Holloway novels before and as always, the author Kate Wilhelm reminds me of my favorite author Sidney Sheldon. Her novels always makes my brain work like that of a CSI detective. I tend to analyze every detail, doubt every character, look for loopholes, determine the suspect and in the end, be surprised with the twists. Somehow, I was able to easily identify with Barbara Holloway, the lawyer because she strive hard to help innocent people and uphold their interests and integrity. Her relationship with her father was also something to look forward to.
But more than that, I was moved by the grace, directness and humor of Kate WIlhelm’s writing and world building. Sleight of Hand is another suspense mystery that’s sure to make you think deeper and deeper as you enjoy devouring the pages, from start to finish.