A Stain Upon the Robe

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Overview

The Honorable Barbara Quincy Pitt has been selected to preside over the trial of a Catholic priest accused of raping twenty-three children in his former parishes.

But the notoriety and horror of the case seem to be the least of the judge's problems. She has become romantically involved with a young law clerk assigned to assist her in this case. Now the young man has disappeared.

Judge Pitt enlists the aid of her former classmate Sheldon Gold to...

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Overview

The Honorable Barbara Quincy Pitt has been selected to preside over the trial of a Catholic priest accused of raping twenty-three children in his former parishes.

But the notoriety and horror of the case seem to be the least of the judge's problems. She has become romantically involved with a young law clerk assigned to assist her in this case. Now the young man has disappeared.

Judge Pitt enlists the aid of her former classmate Sheldon Gold to locate the law clerk and prevent a scandal that would destroy her career. Assisting her boss, Mairead O'Clare finds herself caught between defending a client and pursuing justice-and it's not at all clear which will prevail.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Despite its creaky, sensationalistic plot, Devane's third legal thriller (after Juror Number Eleven) satisfies, largely on the strength of its leads. This time, smart, depressive criminal defense attorney Sheldon Gold is approached by old flame Judge Barbara Pitt, who's presiding over the page-one trial of a Catholic priest accused of raping 23 boys. Judge Pitt says she's mystified by the recent disappearance of her hunky young research clerk, Charles Vareika, after admitting to sleeping with him. Afraid of a Gary Condit-type scandal, Pitt implores Shel to find Vareika without implicating her or tanking the trial. Shel mobilizes his usual team: Mairead O'Clare, the na ve but tough young associate; Pontifico (the Pope) Murizzi, a street-smart, gay ex-cop turned private investigator; and Billie Sunday, a legal secretary with impeccable instincts and candid opinions. The pseudonymous Devane constructs the plot through a rather blocky series of interviews, as the team makes its rounds interrogating Vareika's unsavory friends, Pitt's cagey family members, several trial-watchers with competing agendas and the accused priest himself. Characters tend to speechify rather than speak; the priest takes a page from Hannibal Lecter when he insists on meeting Mairead in his lockup (" `I really enjoy telling [my story], young lady.' Now [he] pressed his nose against the screen, distorting his face into a gargoyle's mask. `I really, really do' "). Devane compensates for much of this artificiality by demonstrating hands-on intimacy with Boston's criminal justice system and by creating soulful, savvy, appealing protagonists who manage to excel at their jobs, despite the heartbreak in their private lives. (Oct.) Forecast: Disappearing interns and predatory priests: the plot points inspired by recent headlines may give this solid thriller by a pseudonymous Boston attorney and "award-winning author" extra legs. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399151088
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/29/2003
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 1.04 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2003

    exciting investigation

    In Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Judge Barbara Pitt presides over the headline news criminal case in which Father Cornelius Xavier Dooley is accused of sexually assaulting twenty-three boys. However, as Her Honor is in the media spot light, she asks her former law school lover criminal defense attorney Sheldon Gold to subtly investigate. To insure political correctness by balancing the female non-Catholic judge, Legal Research Services sends a male Catholic clerk Charles Vareika to assist Barbara. She confesses to Shel, his legal secretary, and his associate that she slept with the clerk who has since vanished. She fears for her reputation, but also the impact on the trial. <P>Shel and his team, including a private sleuth, make inquiries by interviewing associates of the missing person, trial fanatics, and the Catholic priest on trial. As they dig deeper, Barbara seems more unsavory by the moment and Dooley appears quite deranged, but Charles remains missing. <P>Though the key cast members, especially the Judge and the priest, speak stilted English that feels artificial rather than normal free flow conversation, fans will appreciate the honesty, perseverance, and temerity displayed throughout by Shel and his team. The story line moves forward at quite a clip as the trial plays an intriguing backdrop and enhancer to the missing person¿s investigation. The insight into the mean streets of Beantown and the close look at the Suffolk County legal system add depth to this action-packed novel. Fans of legal thrillers in which an exciting investigation supersedes the court room drama will enjoy A STAIN UPON THE ROBE. <P>Harriet Klausner

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