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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller

Unlike Bronx Justice Bronx Justice which was more or less autobiographical, this novel has more humor and less of a sense of doom. It has some funny lines, related to the way things work, like cop-speak. The cop writes in his report: " 'did knowlingly and voluntarily grant them consent to affect entry of the premises.' Jaywalker would go to his grave in awe over how cops abused the English language. It was as though, in order to receive their guns and shields, they were first required to surrender their ablity to spell correctly, to follow the most basic rules of grammar and to write anything even remotely resembling a simple sentence." Surprisingly this book turned out to be a real page-clicker (when read on a Kindle one can't really talk about turning a page.) The client, a young woman with a problematic past, has been accused of stabbing her elderly husband to death after taking out a $25 million term-life policy on him. Now this is where I got cranky. Samara is eighteen when they get married and they remain married for about 8 years. Fine, no problem. But when they met he was described as an old man of 61 who could have been her grandfather. Now I'm 63 and do creak in the morning (and often in the afternoon,) and yes I could be be, and am, the grandparent of an 18-year-old. But 61 is NOT that over-the-hill. One quote that I must include. I would assume it reflects the mindset of the author: Long ago, he'd heard that Abraham Lincoln had once boasted that he would never represent a guilty client. Lincoln might have been a great man, but in Jaywalker's book that one remark if accurately quoted, branded him an absolute worthless criminal defense lawyer. Who was he to decide that help should be extended only to the virtuous and withheld from the sinners? To Jaywalker, it smacked of tax relief for only the wealthy. Luckily and in spite of his gross misunderstanding of the defender's role, he had somehow managed to find other work, thought perhaps tellingly, as a Republican. Excellent book. I'm getting to be quite a Teller fan.
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