Lia Matera

Where Lawyers Fear to Tread

Christina says:

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This review is based upon the German translation by Gabriele Dietze.

Willa Jansson, the daughter of aged hippies, has nearly finished law school when the murder of Susan Green, the chief editor of the student's law review, distracts her from her exams. As Susan's successor, Willa is at the same time the next potential victim and the main suspect, since it depends on this position if a young lawyer just out of law school will get a position at a highly renowned law firm or make a miserable living in the countryside. But there seem to be many more reasons for the murder of Susan, and the editorial department of the Milhousie Law Review will lose some more staff members before Willa finally manages to solve the mystery.

I have a penchant for books dealing with the "wild sixties" and their aftermath. Willa Jansson with her hippie parents and her eventful past is an interesting heroine, even if in this debut she appears to be rather cheeky. Unfortunately, this doesn't add to the plausibility of the plot. Sometimes it is so confusing that I suspected the author had been smoking the same stuff as her protagonist.

Apart from this, Where Lawyers Fear to Tread is a wonderfully cynical portrait of a law school. The students' competition for profitable jobs and the professors' rivalry for prestigious publications are described in an apt and amusing way. If the translation hadn't been so lifeless and full of annoying mistakes, it would have been a perfect joy to read.

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