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Book Review: A Trial Of One By Mary E. Martin
An author that sets out to write a trilogy, is to say the least ambitious, to maintain key characters over three books requires some very intricate plot manipulations. Mary Martin has succeeded in grand style. A Trial Of One wraps up The Osgoode Trilogy. In book one we meet our intrepid, yet unlikely hero Harry Jenkins, a very average lawyer, practicing in a very small and very nondescript law firm. When his partner dies suddenly he finds himself captain of the ship, but where is the ship headed? It is now his alone to make work.
Book two Final Paradox continues Harry's saga, he discovers that a huge fraud was perpetrated years before, millions of dollars disappeared in a medical research scam, and his elderly client Norma Dinnick exhibiting the tell tale signs of dementia confuses Harry. Is she victim of the fraud, or a partner to the crime?
In A Trial Of One these mysteries, and there are several interwoven and cleverly executed plot twists, all gradually come together. Our hero Harry finds himself once again caught up in the needs of his clients. Norma Dinnick has been incarcerated in a mental institution having been found not guilty by way of insanity due to the onset of Alzheimer's for murder. In her rare trips into lucidity she talks of a huge fortune that rightly belongs to her. Harry acting as not only her lawyer, but also legal guardian feels obliged to investigate. The fortune itself seems real, but is it the ill gotten gains from a fraud, or money that was justly earned? A shell company called Elixacorp raised over $30 million dollars, but where is the money now?
Although all of the original protagonists in the fraud scheme are dead, there is one man who still has a driving interest in the loot, Dr. Robert Hawke. Is he medical genius, or maniacal madman? That is the question that we are faced with. It does not take Harry long to realize that Dr. Hawke is a dangerous adversary. Dr. Hawke is researching a new drug that can treat, and even reverse the ravages of Alzheimer's. This could be the single most important breakthrough in medical science in many years. Research takes money though, and Dr. Hawke contends that the money Harry Jenkins seeks was legally raised, and was specifically for research into Alzheimer's. Harry Jenkins must also deal with the distraught widow of his dead partner. Dorothy Crawford is convinced that her husband Richard was poisoned, and the fatal Stroke, was merely the result. And the murderer is someone just know by the initial 'Q.'
A Trial Of One is a cracking read, to call it a page turner does not do it justice. What I really liked was that even through it is part of a trilogy it stands on its own. You do not need to have read the previous books to understand the plot, or the characters involved. The characters are well developed,and rich in texture.
The story moves from Toronto, to Vienna, to London, each step becomes more dangerous for Harry.
This is an interesting book and operates on several different levels. This is not your standard action/adventure by any stretch of the imagination. One of the subplots involves sex, well actually that is not quite true, it involves sexuality, and it certainly is thought provoking.
Maybe a trilogy is the ideal number of books to work a character, and then move on. Even famous best selling authors have fallen into the trap of wearing a character out, one example is author Tom Clancy who worked his character Jack Ryan until he became a joke. Mary Martin has not done that, in fact I am sure that she could use him a couple more times. Certainly if I was her, I would be giving serious thought to it.
This is a great book, and you can get your own copy from Amazon, there is also an interesting web page, The Osgoode Trilogy, supporting the trilogy.
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