Sleight of Hand - Phillip Margolin
Release Date - April 2013
Book Review by Bob Walch
If you remember Dana Cutler from Philip Margolin’s very successful Washington Trilogy ( Executive Privilege, Supreme Justice and Capitol Murder), then you’ll be delighted that the feisty, private investigator is back on the job.
Dana seems to be spread a little thin here but, as you’ll see, the two cases she is working on do eventually merge. First there is the search for a stolen relic, a medieval scepter that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Dana is hired by a mysterious Frenchwoman to track it down but comes to the conclusion this may be just a wild goose chase.
A more immediate concern is the problem posed by slick attorney Charles Benedict. A bit of a chameleon, Benedict is an accomplished amateur magician and a very discrete professional hit man for the Russian mob. Benedict has framed a client who hired him to handle a murder case and the slippery lawyer is convinced he can use his magic to pull off the perfect crime.
Naturally Dana stands in the way of this feat and she has no intention of letting this talented psychopath get away with this very bizarre plot.
The partial inspiration for this latest Margolin thriller comes from the Dashiell Hamett classic, The Maltese Falcon. The quirky cast of characters and the “quest” theme here are reminiscent of the Sam Spade classic.