William Deverell's Trial of Passion
Thanks to Shelagh Roger's The Next Chapter for the tip about this Canadian crime classic. I knew I had read Needles and that a friend had given me (still on the To Read pile) Kill All the Lawyers because she knew I'd like it. Lo! There was Trial of Passion too, so I picked it to read first.
Snort-out-loud hilarious. Two great characters, the female lead plaintiff Kimberley Martin, and the semi-retired Arthur Beauchamp, Q.C. for the defence. Who ever expects to sympathize, to empathize, with a lawyer? But Beauchamp is so over-confidant, incompetent, insecure everywhere but in the courtroom. Imaginative, observant, romantic, and pompous, erudite, pretentious. Overly-educated in classical literature. Attempting to downsize to a property on a laid back gulf island. Cuckolded, impotent, jealous, a recovering alcoholic. Trusting his barber to transform him from navel-gazing hirsute time-warp hippy to naval commander-in-chief. The tapes and reports in evidence give us respite from Beauchamp's over-fraught brain while at the same time they braid the three strands of story together--the crime, the trial, and the island slacker high jinks.