Lethal Legacy (Alexandra Cooper Series #11)

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"When Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr's apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side, she finds a neighbor convinced that the young woman was assaulted. But the terrified victim, a conservator of rare books and maps, refuses to cooperate with investigators. Then another woman is found murdered in that same apartment with an extremely valuable book, believed to have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she is drawn into the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of the New York Public
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Lethal Legacy (Alexandra Cooper Series #11)

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Overview

"When Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr's apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side, she finds a neighbor convinced that the young woman was assaulted. But the terrified victim, a conservator of rare books and maps, refuses to cooperate with investigators. Then another woman is found murdered in that same apartment with an extremely valuable book, believed to have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she is drawn into the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of the New York Public Library and passionate rare book collectors." Eventually Alex connects their internal family rivalries to a priceless edition of Alice in Wonderland, which also contains the world's oldest map. Would one of the well-bred Hunts be willing to kill for the treasures? The search for the answer takes Alex and her team on a breathtaking chase from Manhattan's grandest apartments to the secret tunnels and chambers of the New York Public Library, and finally to a nineteenth-century underground vault. There, in the pitch-black darkness, Alex comes face-to-face with the killer who values money more than life.
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  • Linda Fairstein - Lethal Legacy-1
    Linda Fairstein - Lethal Legacy-1  

Editorial Reviews

Kevin Allman
What makes Lethal Legacy one of Linda Fairstein's stronger offerings is the intriguing setting: the catacombs beneath the New York Public Library. It also helps that the author downplays the unrealistic girlie-girl aspects of Cooper's life…in favor of a heightened focus on the mystery and its mix of high society, rare maps, library crimes and literary restoration. Fairstein presents the latter, interestingly and in great detail, as just another form of forensic science.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

At the start of bestseller Fairstein's entertaining 11th legal thriller to feature ADA Alexandra Cooper of Manhattan's Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit (after Killer Heat), Alex persuades librarian Tina Barr to go to the hospital after a burglar posing as a fireman assaults Tina at her East Side home. After Tina disappears, a woman's corpse turns up in Tina's abandoned apartment that looks like Tina's landlady, heiress Minerva Hunt, but in fact is Minerva's Romanian housekeeper. Alex and her sidekick, NYPD detective Mike Chapman, later learn that Tina was once employed by Minerva's father, Jasper Hunt, a rare book and map collector. The investigation leads Alex and her team into the dark depths of the New York Public Library in search of stolen items that certain bibliophiles and antique map enthusiasts would kill for. Full of fun information about the NYPL, the plot builds to a cool resolution that sets up Alex's next adventure involving a disturbing cold case. Author tour. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Could the pursuit of a rare book or map be motivation to lie, steal, or commit murder? Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper and colleagues Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace are drawn to the scene of a home invasion and possible assault of a young library conservator named Tina Barr. Barr is refusing to leave the confines of her Manhattan apartment, and fear prevents her from divulging details to help snare her assailant. The disappearance of Barr and two subsequent murders propel Cooper and cohorts into a world of socialites, rare map and book collectors, librarians, and thieves. Their investigation leads them to the New York Public Library, where they discover the magnificence and secrets that lie within this historic landmark. As they travel through hidden passages, marvel at rare antiquities, and uncover decades-old secrets, their adventures are reminiscent of the quests of Indiana Jones or National Treasure. Bibliophiles and Fairstein fans are in for a treat with this compelling 11th Alex Cooper novel (after Killer Heat). Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ7/08.]
—Mary Todd Chesnut

From the Publisher
“One of the best crime writers in fiction today.”
—Nelson DeMille

“Fairstein … makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase.”
New York Time

“A champion teller of detective tales.”
USA Today

“Alexandra Cooper, like her creator Linda Fairstein, is a force to contend with: smart, tough, and literate to boot!”
—Sue Grafton

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385523998
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/10/2009
  • Series: Alexandra Cooper Series , #11
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Fairstein

Linda Fairstein, one of America's foremost legal experts on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, ran the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney's Office in Manhattan for more than two decades. Her first novel, Final Jeopardy, which introduced the character of Alexandra Cooper, was published in 1996 to critical and commercial acclaim. Her nonfiction book, Sexual Violence, was a New York Times Notable Book in 1994. She lives with her husband in New York and on Martha's Vineyard.www.lindafairstein.com

Biography

Linda Fairstein is passionate about putting sex offenders behind bars and had done just that many times, both in real life -- as one of New York City's premier sex crimes prosecutors -- and in her fiction, with her popular series of Alex Cooper mysteries.

Born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, Fairstein attended Vassar College, where she majored in English literature. She went on to receive a law degree from the prestigious University of Virginia School of Law in 1972. In November of that year, Fairstein was assigned to the staff of the New York County District Attorney's office and was soon heading up the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit, where she developed a reputation as one of the toughest prosecutors in the office's history. Fairstein spent the next two decades dedicating herself to nailing the worst of the city's sexual offenders, working on such high-profile cases as the Preppy Murder and the Central Park Jogger.

In 1993, Fairstein was named "Woman of the Year" by New Woman and Glamour magazines. A year later, her groundbreaking nonfiction book, Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, was named a Notable Book by The New York Times.

Fairstein's first foray into fiction writing was 1994's Final Jeopardy, which introduced the tough, savvy assistant D.A. Alexandra "Alex" Cooper -- a character close to the author's own identity -- who was well received by fans and critics. As Publishers Weekly noted, Alex's "greatest appeal lies in the warmth of her friendships, the humanness of her mistakes and her unswerving devotion to protecting the next female from harm."

Since then, Fairstein has continued to chronicle Alex Cooper's crime-solving adventures in a string of bestsellers that draws on the author's thoroughgoing knowledge of the legal system and longtime affection for the Big Apple. A believer in public service, Fairstein sits on the board of directors of several nonprofit groups, among them the National Center for Victims of Crime, Phoenix House Foundation, and New York Women's Agenda, and has also served on President Clinton's Violence Against Women Advisory Council, New York Women's Agenda Domestic Violence Committee, the American College of Trial Lawyers, The Women's Forum, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

In an interview on her publisher's web site, Fairstein explains that her career and her life's mission are one in the same: "I think so much more is possible in terms of what we are able to give women who have been victims of violence and how they can triumph in a courtroom," Fairstein reflects. "So to take this -- the professional life I've had over the last 30 years and to mix it with the great pleasure of writing -- is something I never dreamed I'd actually be able to accomplish."

Good To Know

Fairstein is married to Justin Feldman, a lawyer who helped run Robert F. Kennedy's 1964 United States Senate campaign.

Fairstein has admitted to having her eye on the post of United States Attorney General, and in fact interviewed for that position in 1993.

Cold Hit made President Clinton's highly-publicized vacation reading list in 1999.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 5, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Mount Vernon, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Vassar College, 1969; J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1972
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


Lethal Legacy


By Linda Fairstein
Anchor
Copyright © 2009

Linda Fairstein
All right reserved.



ISBN: 9780307387783


ONE


"I want you to open the door for me."   

Only silence.

"Look through the peephole," I said. "I'm not a cop. I'm an assistant district attorney."

I stepped back and squared off so the woman inside the basement apartment could check me out. The hallway and staircase had been cleared of men in uniform, including the detail from Emergency Services poised to knock down her door with a battering ram, who were there when I arrived at the scene a short while ago at one o'clock in the morning.

I didn't hear any sound from within. No sense of her movement.

"My name is Alexandra Cooper. You're Tina, aren't you? Tina Barr." I didn't say what my specialty was, that I was in charge of the DA's Office Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit. The police weren't certain she had been assaulted by the man who had earlier invaded her home, but several of them thought she might reveal those details to me if I could gain her confidence.

I moved in against the metal-clad door and pressed my ear to it, but heard nothing.

"Don't lose your touch now, Coop." Mike Chapman walked down the steps and handed a light bulb to the rookie who was holding a flashlight over my shoulder. "The money on the street's against you, but I'm counting on your golden tongue to talk the lady out so those guyscan go home and catch some sleep."

The young cop passed the bulb to Mercer Wallace, the six-foot-six-inch-tall detective from the Special Victims Unit who had called me to the brownstone on the quiet block between Lexington and Third Avenues in the East 90's.

Mercer reached overhead and screwed it in, illuminating the drab, cracked paint on the ceiling and walls of the hallway. "Somebody--most likely the perp--shattered the other one. There are slivers of glass everywhere."

"Thanks, kid," Mike said, dismissing the rookie. "No progress here, Detective Wallace?"

"We haven't got a homicide," I whispered to Mercer. "And they sell light bulbs at the bodega on Lex. I don't know why you think we needed Mike, but please get him off my back."

"Damn, I've listened to Blondie charm full-on perverts into boarding the bus for a twenty-five-to-life time share at Sing-Sing. I've seen her coax confessions from the lying lips of the deranged and demented. I've watched as weak-willed men--"

Mercer put his finger to his lips and pointed at the staircase.

"Tina, these two detectives are my friends. I've worked with them for more than ten years." I paused to cough and clear my throat. There was still a bit of smoke wafting through the hallway. "Can you tell me why you don't want to open up? Why it is you won't trust us? We're worried about your safety, Tina. About your physical condition."

Mercer pulled at my elbow. "Let's go up for a break. Get some fresh air."

I stayed at the door for another few minutes and then followed Mike and Mercer to the small vestibule of the building and out onto the stoop. It was a mild October night, and neighbors returning to their homes, walking dogs, or hanging around the 'hood were checking on the police activity and trying to figure out what was wrong.

The uniformed sergeant from the 23rd Precinct whose team had been the first responders was on the sidewalk in front of the building, talking to Billy Schultz, the man who had called 911 an hour earlier.

"What's the situation behind the house?" Mike asked Mercer, as I caught up with them, on their way down the front steps.

"Two cops stationed there. Small common garden for the tenants. Back doors from both the first floor and Barr's basement apartment, but no one has moved since they've been on site."

"What do you know about the girl?"

"Not much. Nobody seems to," Mercer said. He turned to the man standing with the sergeant, whom I guessed to be about forty, several years older than Mike and I. "This is Mike Chapman, Billy. He's assigned to Night Watch."

Mike worked in Manhattan North Homicide, which helped staff the Night Watch unit, an elite squad of detectives on call between midnight and eight a.m., when precinct squads were most understaffed, to respond all over Manhattan to murders and situations like this one that the department referred to--with gross understatement--as "unusuals."

"Billy lives on the first floor," Mercer said. "He's the guy who called 911."

"Good to meet you," Mike said. He turned to me. "What's her name?"

"Tina Barr."

"She your friend?" he said to Billy.

"We chat at the mailboxes occasionally. She's a quiet girl. Keeps to herself. Spent a lot of time gardening on weekends in the summer, so I ran into her out back every now and then, but I haven't seen her much since."

"Lived here long?"

"Me? Eighteen years?"

"Her."

"Tina sublets. A year, maybe more."

Mike ran his fingers through his thick black hair, looking from Billy to me. "You sure she's in there?"

"I could hear a woman crying when I first got here," I said. Whimpering was a more accurate word.

"Tina was sobbing when I knocked on her door," Billy said.

"But she wouldn't open up for you?"

Billy Schultz adjusted his glasses on the bridge of his nose while Mike scrutinized him. "No, sir."

"Why were you knocking? What made you call 911?"

"Mercer gave us all this, Mike. Let me get back inside."

He held his arm out at me, palm perpendicular like a stop sign. "Don't you want the chronology from the horse's mouth? Primary source. Catch me up, Billy."

I had one hand on the wrought-iron railing but stopped to listen.

"I'm a graphic designer, detective. Worked late, stopped off for a burger and a couple of beers on my way home," Billy said. He was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. There were smudges of ink or paint on his jeans, too dark in color to be blood, I thought. "It was about 12:30 when I got near the building. That's when I saw this guy come tearing out the front door, down the steps."

"What guy? Someone you know?"

Billy Schultz shook his head. "Nope. The fireman."

Mike looked to Mercer. "Nobody told me about that. The fire department got here first?"

"Not for real," Mercer said.

"I mean I assumed he was a fireman. He was dressed in all the gear--coat, boots, hat--even had a protective mask of some kind on. That's why I couldn't see his face."

"Did you stop him? Did he talk to you?"

"He flew by me, like there was a forest fire on Lexington Avenue he had to get to. Almost took me out. Even that didn't seem odd until I looked up the street for his truck, but there wasn't one around. Just weird."

"What did you do then?"

"I unlocked the door to the vestibule, and as soon as I got inside, I could smell smoke. I could see little waves of it sort of spiraling upward from the basement," Billy said. "We don't have a super who lives in the building, so there was no one for me to call. I figured whatever happened had been resolved. By the guy I thought was a fireman. But I wanted to check it out, make sure there was nothing still burning."

"Sarge, you want to get me that mask?" Mercer said.

The older man walked to the nearest squad car and reached in for a paper bag while Billy Schultz talked.

"I went downstairs first. It was pretty dark, but I could make out a small pile of rubble in the corner of the hallway, a couple of feet from Tina's door. Nothing was burning--no flames--but it was still smoldering. Kicking off a lot of smoke. That's when I knocked on her door."

"Did she answer?" Mike asked.

"No. Not then. I didn't hear anything. I figured maybe she wasn't home. I ran up to my apartment, filled a pitcher with water and came back down to douse whatever was still smoking. Figured the other firemen must have gone off to a bigger job and that the last one--the guy who almost plowed me down--was trying to catch up with them."

The sergeant passed the bag to Mercer, who put on a pair of latex gloves from his pocket before opening it.

"It's when I went downstairs the second time that I heard Tina."

"What did you hear, exactly?" I asked.

Billy cocked his head and answered. "I knocked again, just because I was worried that the firemen might have left her there even though there was still something smoldering in the hallway. She was weeping loudly, then pausing, like to inhale."

"Words," Mike said. "Did she speak any words?"

"No, but I did. I told Tina it was me, asked her if she was alright. I was coughing myself from the smoke. I told her she could come up to my apartment."

"Did she answer you?"

"No. She just cried."

"How do you know it's Tina Barr you were talking to?" Mike asked.

Billy hesitated. "Well, at that point--I, uh--I just assumed it, detective. She lives there alone."

"What next?"

"I went home to get a bucket and broom. Swept some of the trash into the bucket to throw out on the street--"

Mike glanced at the sergeant. "Yeah, we got it, Chapman. Looks like amateur smoke bombs."

"The sobbing was so bad by then I called 911, from my cell. Maybe she was sick, overcome by the smoke. I waited out here on the stoop till the officers came. Three minutes. Not much longer. That's when Tina went berserk. That's when I knew it was her, for sure. I recognized her voice, when she was yelling at the cops."

Mercer removed a large black object from the bag and dangled it in front of us.

"Yeah," Billy said. "That's what the fireman had on his face."

"Found it halfway up the block," the sergeant said. "Right in the perp's flight path."

"That's not department gear," Mike said. "It's a gas mask. Military style."

It was a black rubber helmet, with two holes for the eyes, and a broad snout-like respirator that would fit over the mouth, with a long hose attached.

"Couldn't see a damn thing," Billy said. "It covered his entire face."

"What did the cops do?" Mike asked.

"I led them down to the basement. They knocked on Tina's door and one of them identified himself, said they were police. That's when she started yelling at them to leave her alone. I mean screaming at them. Freaked out. Sounded like she collapsed--maybe fell onto the floor--crying the whole time."

"What makes you think she's alone in there?"

"We're guessing," Mercer said. "She's the only one to make a sound--no scuffling, no struggling, no other voices. But that's another reason ESU won't leave."

Mike started up the front steps toward me and prodded my side with his fingers. I went back in the vestibule toward the basement staircase.

"One of the cops told Tina he just wanted to make sure that the fire hadn't affected her," Billy said, drawing a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his smoke-fogged glasses. "Asked her if she could stand up and look through the peephole at his badge, for identification. She went wild."

"What do you mean?" Mike asked.

"Tina screamed at the cop. Told him that's how the guy got in. The fireman. That he showed her his badge and she opened the door."

"It was the fireman who was inside her apartment? You knew, Coop?"

"That's why Mercer called me. We don't know who the man was, why he was using such an elaborate disguise, why he went inside, and what he did to this woman. Okay? Don't come any closer, Mike. Let me talk to her."

I walked the short corridor to the rear of the hallway, glass crunching under the soles of my shoes.

"Tina? It's Alex Cooper. We're all still here. The police officers won't leave until I convince them that you're unharmed. I'll keep them outside the building if you'll let me in for just a few minutes."

"I'd rank that a toss up," Mike said. "Ten minutes with you or the quick punch of a battering ram? Tough call."

"You think this helps? You think she can't hear you?" I threw up my arms in frustration as I turned to Mike. "Mercer, please take him upstairs."

The men marched back to the first floor as I made another attempt to convince Tina Barr to let me in.

"I'm the only one in the basement now, Tina. The men are all outside. I don't want them to break down your door any more than you do. But they're worried that you've been injured. There was a lot of smoke down here. Can you just tell me if you're hurt?"

There was no answer for more than a minute. Then a soft voice spoke a word or two, that sounded as though the woman was still sitting or lying on the floor inside. I couldn't understand her, so I crouched beside the door and put my ear against it.

"Sorry. What did you say?"

"Not hurt. I'll be okay."

She spoke haltingly, her words caught in her throat.

"Tina, are you having trouble breathing?"

No answer.

"We can give you oxygen, Tina. Is it the smoke? Is there still smoke in your apartment?"

"No."

"The man who was dressed like a fireman, did you let him come into your apartment?"

She was crying again as she tried to speak. "No, no I didn't let him in."

"But you told the police officer that--"

"I only opened the door because he showed me a gold badge and told me there was a fire. I could smell the smoke and then saw it. I believed him." Tina Barr's words came out phrase by phrase, embedded in sobs. "He forced his way inside. I didn't let him in."

"You can trust us, Tina. Now you know that man wasn't actually a fireman. His badge wasn't real." Mercer had already checked that with the department, and had been telling that to Barr before I got there. "The cops think the man started the fire himself in order to break in to your apartment."

She was taking deep breaths on the other side of the door.

I took one, too, and tried to get at what had so far been unspoken. "I work with victims of sex crimes, Tina. That's all I do. It's why the police thought I might be able to help. I deal with the most sensitive cases you can imagine," I said, closing my eyes, which burned from the lingering smoke. "Did this man assault you tonight?"

She coughed again.

I didn't know how long he'd been within the apartment before Billy Schultz saw him running from the building at 12:30 in the morning.

"Did he awaken you when he knocked, Tina?"

"No."

"Do you know what time it was when you first went to the door?"

"Five," she said.

"Five o'clock in the afternoon?" She must have been confused. "Look, I'm going to have to let the police work on your door, or the back window in your kitchen, Tina. You may be a little woozy. He couldn't have been inside there that long."

There was a noise before Tina Barr spoke next, as though she shifted her position. She had gotten to her feet, perhaps angered by my comment. I stood up, too, as she pounded on the door. "I know exactly what time it was when the man knocked, do you understand? It wasn't the middle of the night, Ms. Cooper. It was five o'clock."

All the cops and I had assumed the events had occurred within minutes of Schultz's arrival home. Fast, like most break-ins, and while the smoke bombs were steaming. We were wrong.

"I apologize, Tina. That's even more reason for me to know what he did to you." I didn't want to suggest the word 'rape' to her. I needed her to reveal to me what had occurred.

"I don't want to talk to any cops, Ms. Cooper. I'll tell you what happened if that will make them go away."

"I'm alone down here now. The men won't come in." I paused before I spoke again. "I give you my word."

Tina Barr sniffled, then was quiet. I heard the deadbolt turn.


From the Hardcover edition.

Continues...


Excerpted from Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein Copyright © 2009 by Linda Fairstein. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Introduction

“Fairstein . . . makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase." —The New York Times

The introduction, questions, and suggestions for further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of Linda Fairstein's dazzling thriller Lethal Legacy.

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Foreword

1. What makes this an ideal case for Alex, Mike, and Mercer? How do their special skills help them to navigate the world of the Hunts? What makes the Hunt family different from any other suspects they have encountered?

2. How did you interpret Tina Barr’s cryptic description of her work? If you were in her position, would you have gone to the police after the first attack?

3. How did your impressions of Minerva Hunt change throughout the novel? Did you trust Karla? What was your theory about why she was found with the jewel-encrusted copy of the Bay Psalm Book?

4. Discuss the different motivations of the collectors portrayed in Lethal Legacy, from Jonah Krauss to Alger Herrick. What makes them covet particular objects?

5. Why is it important to preserve early volumes such as the Bay Psalm Book? In a digital age, why do printed books matter? What did you learn about the history of book printing and mapmaking by reading Lethal Legacy?

6. Though Lethal Legacy is entirely a work of fiction, in 2006 a real-life map thief admitted to stealing dozens of valuable specimens, targeting institutions ranging from the New York Public Library to Yale’s Beinecke Library. In your opinion, what (and who) drives the high market value of centuries-old maps? What value, besides a financial one, do these artifacts have in Lethal Legacy?

7. Most of Linda Fairstein’s fans know that she worked in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for more than twenty years. But not many fans know that she collects rare books. How does it affect your reading to know that Fairstein is a rare-book lover herself?

8. What wasthe legacy of the Jasper Hunt in emotional terms? Was Jasper Junior mad or brilliant? Or both? Is he solely responsible for the feuds between the Hunt siblings?

9. Does Jane Eliot appreciate rare books in a way that is different from the other characters? How was her childhood enhanced by life in the New York Public Library?

10. Jonah Krauss describes how his life changed after he bought an early edition of The Great Gatsby. If you could pay any price, which rare book would you most want to own?

11. In chapter five, Alex fights for access to California’s DNA database, trying to clinch her case against Jamal Griggs. DNA evidence also affects the Hunt family tree. Should America adopt Britain’s Police and Justice Act, which allows police to collect and retain DNA from anyone who is arrested?

12. Alex has a harrowing cab ride on her way to meet Luc for dinner. How does that evening capture the two sides of her life: the gritty, constant threat of retaliation and an evening with a man who loves to surround her with luxury? What makes Luc the perfect antidote to her stressful job?

13. How did Travis Forbes become powerful? How is his power different from the Hunt family’s?

14. Discuss the New York Public Library’s role as a character in the novel. What did you discover about its unique history? What has helped this landmark endure into the twenty-first century?

15. Alex has encountered many criminal minds since her debut in Final Jeopardy. Do all perps, including the ones in Lethal Legacy, share a common weakness?

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. What makes this an ideal case for Alex, Mike, and Mercer? How do their special skills help them to navigate the world of the Hunts? What makes the Hunt family different from any other suspects they have encountered?

2. How did you interpret Tina Barr’s cryptic description of her work? If you were in her position, would you have gone to the police after the first attack?

3. How did your impressions of Minerva Hunt change throughout the novel? Did you trust Karla? What was your theory about why she was found with the jewel-encrusted copy of the Bay Psalm Book?

4. Discuss the different motivations of the collectors portrayed in Lethal Legacy, from Jonah Krauss to Alger Herrick. What makes them covet particular objects?

5. Why is it important to preserve early volumes such as the Bay Psalm Book? In a digital age, why do printed books matter? What did you learn about the history of book printing and mapmaking by reading Lethal Legacy?

6. Though Lethal Legacy is entirely a work of fiction, in 2006 a real-life map thief admitted to stealing dozens of valuable specimens, targeting institutions ranging from the New York Public Library to Yale’s Beinecke Library. In your opinion, what (and who) drives the high market value of centuries-old maps? What value, besides a financial one, do these artifacts have in Lethal Legacy?

7. Most of Linda Fairstein’s fans know that she worked in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for more than twenty years. But not many fans know that she collects rare books. How does it affect your reading to know that Fairstein is a rare-book lover herself?

8. What was the legacy of the Jasper Hunt in emotional terms? Was Jasper Junior mad or brilliant? Or both? Is he solely responsible for the feuds between the Hunt siblings?

9. Does Jane Eliot appreciate rare books in a way that is different from the other characters? How was her childhood enhanced by life in the New York Public Library?

10. Jonah Krauss describes how his life changed after he bought an early edition of The Great Gatsby. If you could pay any price, which rare book would you most want to own?

11. In chapter five, Alex fights for access to California’s DNA database, trying to clinch her case against Jamal Griggs. DNA evidence also affects the Hunt family tree. Should America adopt Britain’s Police and Justice Act, which allows police to collect and retain DNA from anyone who is arrested?

12. Alex has a harrowing cab ride on her way to meet Luc for dinner. How does that evening capture the two sides of her life: the gritty, constant threat of retaliation and an evening with a man who loves to surround her with luxury? What makes Luc the perfect antidote to her stressful job?

13. How did Travis Forbes become powerful? How is his power different from the Hunt family’s?

14. Discuss the New York Public Library’s role as a character in the novel. What did you discover about its unique history? What has helped this landmark endure into the twenty-first century?

15. Alex has encountered many criminal minds since her debut in Final Jeopardy. Do all perps, including the ones in Lethal Legacy, share a common weakness?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Typical Fairstsein Book

    I like Linda Fairstein, she is what I consider an easy read. Just once though I would like to see a story where Alex Cooper doesn't get caught by the bad guys, or something different happens in one of these books. I like the characters, I enjoy the stories. I really enjoy the history and research that goes into each story. If you like Fairstein, you'll enjoy this book. If you have not read Fairsten and you like the murder mystery type novel, you'll lilke this book. You do not have to worry about this being a series, you can pick up this series anywhere in any of the books and not be lost.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent mystery

    It was a good read. I liked the idea that the New York Public library was part of the mystery. It was interesting to read about how the library got started and about the people involved. It was like a history lesson with a bit of a twist.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Lost Mystery

    I bought this book because it was written by Linda Fairstein and I have always enjoyed her work. This is a major disappointment. The book did give information about the New York Public Library which was very interesting. The problem was with the huge focus on the different families and their collections of books, maps and artwork donated to the library. They did not only concentrate on the current family but went into length about the past several generations of each family. Needless to say, some points of this book were extremely dull. The mystery got lost between all the tangents about the collections and all the different characters. Definitely going into the donation pile.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2009

    YAWN

    Linda Fairstein is a good detective writer but in this case I had to force myself to read the book. And if I buy em I read em. When I want to read a good dectective story I dont want to be bored to death reading three quarters of the book on cartography. I got the point. I understood but she wouldn't let go of the map. Hate to say where that one is going to get filed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Basic Fairstein

    If you are a fan of Linda Fairstein as I am you will want to read this latest in the Alex Cooper series. Most of the novel revolves around the NYC Public Library. As always there is interesting history of the city woven into her books. "Lethal Legacy" is entertaining but not one of her best since it drags along in places. Personally I would like to see more development in Alex's personal life. Relationships have been status quo for so long is getting old. A good book for a plane ride or sitting by the pool.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2009

    Not Fairstein's best work

    I found this book disappointing. Dubious justification for Cooper's involvement. Largely unsympathetic and annoying characters (a few additional murders to cull the cast might have helped).

    Sadly, the most interesting thing about this book was the education into the workings and functions of a library such as the NYPL as compared to a neighborhood branch library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Lethal Legacy is AWESOME!!

    I'm apologizing right now for being lengthy.
    When I opened the pages of Lethal Legacy I expected Alex our heroine to be armpit deep in the how's and why's of another sexual predator case, but to my great pleasure I found instead a story equal if not better that any one by Agatha Crhristie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As Alex and her cohorts Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace rush to solve a murder we readers are introduced to the larger than life behind the scenes of the New York Public Library and it's benefactors and employees as it becomes obvious that the crime revolves around an eccentric donor and a rare map of the world.
    The book has everything a who done it lover could want, great writing, excellent story line/plot, nail biting, kept me on the edge of my seat, terror filled suspense. And as always the sexual tension between Alex and Mike.
    Now if I could only convince Ms. Fairstein to make Alex and Mike see the light and team up in life as well as at work.
    But alas she is a writer of crime and mystery and rarely do we see happily ever afters there.
    I predict a number one on the NY Times Best Seller list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Story's Lost in the Trivia - Not Fairstein's A-Game

    Fairstein's Alex Cooper series usually gives us tight, tautly plotted legal/crime thrillers, but "Lethal Legacy" is the exception that proves the rule.<BR/><BR/>The story starts out very promisingly with an assault victim who's not cooperative with Cooper and her cohorts, raising the question of "what's going on here?" - but quickly goes downhill from there.<BR/><BR/>A couple of dead bodies later, and things become as murky as mud: an eccentric family of wealthy museum benefactors; the operation and setting of a New York museum; collections of rare books and maps; a completely irrelevant second criminal proceeding that's thrown in for no discernible reason at all; a visit from her paramour that lands with a thud in the middle of the whole thing.<BR/><BR/>I couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on. The benefactor family was a confusing mess; there was FAR too much time spent on the arcana of the museum and its operations; the ancient map (which was the "mulligan" of the piece), though interesting, was given too much space in the story. This read more like a detailed scavenger hunt than a murder mystery.<BR/><BR/>Traditionally, Fairstein weaves interesting and unique New York locales into her narratives, but at heart they remain murder mysteries. Not the case in this book; the whole concept is turned completely upside down, with the murders playing second fiddle to the search for a map. An unhappy mating of Alexandra Cooper and "National Treasure".<BR/><BR/>My two stars are generous.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    Great History

    I love the characters in this series and how the author teaches us throught them the history of New York City.

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Linda Fairstein, Legal Legacy

    Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper is called away from an eight-year-old case to help respond to what may have been a sexual assault. The victim was Tina Barr, a former conservator for the New York Public Library. Barr proves very reluctant to cooperate with Cooper in any way, but her subsequent disappearance and the discovery of a dead body in Barr's apartment direct Cooper's investigation squarely at the grand library itself.

    Lethal Legacy is very well written, fast-paced, and of particular interest to bibliophiles. This is a tale concerned not only with a world of crime, but even more so with the deep ambitions and compelling greed of wealthy families involved in the world of antique books and maps.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 7, 2010

    Full stop

    I had raced through books #1 through #10 like some other wordly demon. However, book #11 slowed me down to the point I wondered if I would even finish it. There was too much documentation about rare books and rare maps, and less of the heart-racing excitement of the first 10 novels. I was let down by this book. Maybe I need to move on to a different author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Lethal Legacy

    Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper is called away from an eight-year-old case to help respond to what may have been a sexual assault. The victim was Tina Barr, a former conservator for the New York Public Library. Barr proves very reluctant to cooperate with Cooper in any way, but her subsequent disappearance and the discovery of a dead body in Barr's apartment direct Cooper's investigation squarely at the grand library itself.

    Lethal Legacy is very well written, fast-paced, and of particular interest to bibliophiles. This is a tale concerned not only with a world of crime, but even more so with the deep ambitions and compelling greed of wealthy families involved in the world of antique books and maps.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Fairstein

    I love old maps and old books so this was one of the more interesting recent Fairsteins. My mother and I both enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted August 24, 2009

    Lethal Legacy

    This is a typical Linda Fairstein book about Alex Cooper and her team solving yet another murder in Manhattan.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    Fairstein in Top Form!

    Really a great read. Very exciting!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

    Great Mystery

    Solid writing and solid story. Liked it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Great Read

    Very enjoyable and I loved learning about the New York City Library. Highly Recommended.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Good Book

    Good Story

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Linda Fairstein does it again.

    THis is the 7th book in the Alexandra Cooper Series. It is better to read from the first one and go from there, you get the full character development. However this is another excellent book. What I like about her books, is that they are very authentic. They are well researched and factually accurate. I always learn something, along with going along for a great read.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another Linda Fairstein winner!

    I love Linda Fairstein, and this book was just another to prove that fact. The characters were great as always, the plot had just enough twists and turns to keep me enthralled and I had to know who did it! It was hard to put this book down!

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