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Sleight of Hand: A Barabara Holloway Mystery (Barbara Holloway Novels) Audio CD – November, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Wilhelm's compelling eighth novel to feature DA Barbara Holloway (after 2003's Clear and Convincing Proof), Wally Lederer, a former pickpocket who once served jail time, has retired from a successful Las Vegas stage career and returned home to Eugene, Ore., with his devoted wife, Meg, only to be accused of the theft of a valuable antique by an old childhood friend, Jay Wilkins. When someone kills Jay with a blow to the head, the police charge Wally, who turns for help to Barbara and her team. Their investigation unearths secrets about Jay and his family that will force Barbara to make a challenging ethical decision. The fast-paced plot, marred only by Barbara's inability to deal effectively with her relationship with her boyfriend, leads to an exciting trial with closing arguments sure to delight any legal-thriller fan. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Las Vegas entertainer Wally Lederer, a former pickpocket, now puts his skills to good use in his stage show. When childhood friend Jay Wilkins accuses him of stealing a gold artifact, Wally turns to attorney Barbara Holloway (Clear and Convincing Proof, 2003) to help convince the police he has turned his life around. Matters become more complicated when Jay is found murdered and his wife goes missing. As Barbara investigates, evidence leads her to an unlikely killer. Revealing the truth may save her client but harm an innocent person. Wilhelm has produced another intricately plotted mystery with an ethical dilemma at its core. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Barbara Holloway Novels
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (November 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786159820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786159826
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,774,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in 1928, Kate Wilhelm the author of more than thirty novels including Where Late the Sweet Bird Sang and The Unbidden Truth. Her work has been adapted for TV and film and translated into twenty languages. She has been awarded the Prix Apollo, Kurd Lasswitz, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. In 2003, she was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. Her short fiction appeared in landmark anthologies such as Again Dangerous Visions, Orbit, The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women, and The Norton Book of Science Fiction. A cofounder of the Clarion Writers' Workhops, she continues to host monthly writing workshops in Eugene, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gary in San Jose on June 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Kate Wilhelm (born 1928) is a versatile and skilled writer who has produced stunningly compelling fiction. Wilhelm's first novel was published in 1963, and her works, which include award-winning short stories and novellas, range from science fiction to fantasy to mysteries to legal thrillers.

I am a big fan of Ms. Wilhelm, but I suggest not starting with volume. 'Sleight Of Hand' is the ninth 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.

In this book 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. Even thought there is never any evidence that Lederer had further contact after leaving his friend's house days before the murder, Wally is still arrested for the murder of statue's owner.

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.

Readers wanting the best introduction to this author's work should look elsewhere.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Kay VINE VOICE on April 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the other reviewer that this is not the place to start reading this series. But I'm not good at taking my own advice; this is only the third Barbara Holloway book I read. Fortunately, one of the others I read introduced her on-and-off boyfriend so I could at least follow that. But I really should go back and start reading the series from the beginning.

But I disagree with the other reviewer's claim that the ethical dilemma was not credible. I found that dilemma one of the most interesting parts of the book. Her decision not to reveal her knowledge of the real killer was completely understandable from a compassionate point of view but completely violated her ethical duty to her client. And I don't think the fact that her client wasn't facing the death penalty made the risk of losing his case any less compelling.

I definitely recommend reading this book, but it would be better to have read a number of the earlier books before this one. I intend to read the whole series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Frank Holloway's old friend Wally Lederer wants advice, and Frank has to refuse giving it because the semi-retired attorney's legal firm no longer accepts criminal cases. Wally has been accused of stealing a valuable item belonging to one of his classmates from long ago high school years; and although it's now just an accusation, the police and the former classmate's insurer may at any moment decide to pursue that accusation. Frank refers Wally to his daughter, Barbara, a skilled criminal defense attorney who is also Frank's frequent associate. Barbara Holloway advises Wally to wait and see what happens, since missing items often turn up - especially when, as is the case with Jay Wilkins, the item's owner is having a family crisis. For Jay's wife, Connie, has gone missing; and it's possible she took the item with her.

A few days after Barbara gives Wally that advice, someone kills Jay Wilkins. After that, Connie's body turns up; and the police quickly decide Connie killed herself. But Connie's family does not believe that happened, nor does the head of a women's refuge where Connie volunteered both during her first marriage (which ended when her husband and their only child died in an auto accident) and recently, up until her disappearance. Connie was depressed and grieving for a long time after being widowed, yes; but she had worked her way through the worst of her grief, and was once again living her life and planning for the future. But that's not how Jay Wilkins portrayed her when he made phone call after phone call, professing to be frantic with worry. According to Jay, Connie was suicidal.

That's the convoluted situation Barbara confronts when she's hired to defend Wally Lederer against the accusation of murdering Jay Wilkins.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 committed 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
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