Kate Wilhelm is an American author of science fiction and mystery novels. She began her writing career in 1956 with a series of science fiction short stories. Her debut novel was published in 1963 and was a mystery book titled More Bitter Than Death. Wilhelm’s best known series include the Barbara Hollowar mysteries and the Constance Leidl and Charlie Meiklejohn Mysteries. In 2003 she was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. She won her first nebula award in 1968 for her short story The Planners and won her first Hugo Award for her novel Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang.
Sleight of Handby Kate Wilhelm
Gregarious Vegas entertainer Wally Lederer has a lucrative showbiz career, but when a childhood friend accuses him of stealing a valuable artifact, his checkered past comes back to haunt him. Wally claims he's turned his life around since spending time in the slammer for picking pockets, but will the police believe him? More important, does Barbara believe him when
Gregarious Vegas entertainer Wally Lederer has a lucrative showbiz career, but when a childhood friend accuses him of stealing a valuable artifact, his checkered past comes back to haunt him. Wally claims he's turned his life around since spending time in the slammer for picking pockets, but will the police believe him? More important, does Barbara believe him when he pleads his case to her?
Wally swears he's innocent. But when his accuser is found murdered, Barbara knows Wally is in serious troublethe police have named him as their prime suspect.
Barbara begins to dig up the dirt, and before long new evidence points toward an unlikely killer. Now Barbara must decide if protecting her client by revealing the truth will destroy another life she means to save.
Meet the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
I have read many, if not all of the Barbara Holloway stories, but this was the best. The plot was both very interesting and very believable. In addition, and most importantly, the characters were real and sympathetic. A fine read.
Ms. Wilhelm 'born 1928' is a versatile and skilled writer who has produced stunningly compelling fiction. Kate Wilhelm's first novel was published in 1963, and her works, including award-winning short stories and novellas, range from science fiction to fantasy to mysteries to legal thrillers. 'Sleight Of Hand' is the eighth novel to feature defense attorney Barbara Holloway. In each of these courtroom thrillers, Ms. Holloway uncovers the truth and fights, sometimes against great odds, for justice. In the earlier novels, Ms. Holloway provides community legal services, meeting clients in a small neighborhood café in Eugene, Oregon. These early novels reveal Barbara Holloway to be an independent and crusading lawyer who will accept murder defense cases that no one else wants. Readers wanting the best introduction to this author's work should look elsewhere. Several elements are weak in this volume: - Not much is at risk, nor is the risk very believable. Her client does not face the death penalty, and based on the evidence that is presented, it is simply not credible that he would have ever been arrested for murder. Defendant Wally Lederer, a former pickpocket, is accused by a childhood friend of the theft of a valuable antique. Since the statue is later found in the owner's house, a 'theft' cannot ever be proven. There is never any evidence that Lederer had further contact with the victim after leaving his friend's house days before the murder. Statements by the defendant's wife and others about the danger of conviction do not ring true. - Any chance for real courtroom drama is subverted by the prosecution's extremely weak case. Barbara's closing argument only reinforces the obvious conclusion that her client should never have been charged. - The moral quandary Barbara faces is sketchy and not compelling. Barbara knows who killed the victim, and is so confident she will gain acquittal that she never seriously considers using the identity of the real killer 'who has diminished capabilities' as part of her defense. - Barbara's difficulties in having a meaningful and continuing relationship with her boyfriend are not explained. Readers of previous books may remember some of her issues, but there is little in this book to explain her flight from intimacy. As always, there are significant pluses to the author's work: - Readability and continuity are good. You are never left scratching your head wondering where some plot element or statement came from. - Frank Holloway's relationship with his daughter Barbara is insightfully portrayed, although their interactions are a minor focus of the work. I am a huge fan of Ms. Wilhelm. If you enjoy courtroom dramas, I recommend that you start with one of her early Holloway novels ''For the Defense,' aka 'Malice Prepense,' from 1996 is a good choice'. Kate Wilhelm's earlier works are more masterfully plotted and much more suspenseful and compelling. Both you and the author deserve a better introduction than this particular book offers.
Twice he was caught thieving the first time he received probation but the next time he served hard time in the state pen for five years. When he was released his wife Meg was waiting for him but Wally Lederer knew if he ever commited another crime she would walk out on him He went on to make a good life for himself and his wife using his unique skills as an entertainer. One night at the casino he meets a childhood friend Jay Wilkins who invites him and his wife over for a drink.---------------- They accept the invitation and when they arrive, Wally sees Jay is preoccupied about his missing wife. Wally is later accused by Jay of stealing a gold horse statue valued at $30,000. Wally goes to lawyer Barbara Holloway for advice she tells him to sit tight. They later learn that Jay was murdered and the police believe Wally was the culprit the motive is that if Jay could make his case, Wally would have gone to prison for a long time. Before the trial starts, Barbara has evidence that will exonerate her client but she refuses to use it and prays she can get a not guilty verdict at his trial.-------------- The protagonist realizes in SLEIGHT OF HAND that justice and the law do not go hand in hand she is unsure of herself and angry at a system that could incarcerate the innocent. Many readers won¿t agree with the choice the protagonist makes unless they need a lawyer to extract them from such a mess. The trial is fascinating as Kate Wilhelm known for her exciting legal thrillers, has written a memorable tale.------------ Harriet Klausner