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The Undertaker's Widow (1998)

The Undertaker's Widow (1998)
3.74 of 5 Votes: 2
0385480547 (ISBN13: 9780385480543)
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The Undertaker's Widow (1998)
The Undertaker's Widow (1998)

About book: Judge Richard Quinn ascended to the bench at a fairly young age and has spent his career following in his father's cherished footsteps and trying to live up to his own strong moral code. His marriage to an ambitious attorney has hit a bit of a rough patch and, instead of a romantic island getaway, Quinn ends up traveling alone. He meets a beautiful woman on the plane and makes plans to meet her the next day. Quinn tells himself he's interested in nothing more than companionship but things get a little friendlier than they should. The scene turns nightmarish even before Quinn's wife surprises him in his hotel room. He returns home with his marriage on the rocks and the increasing suspicion that there may be dark forces at work against him. Quinn is convinced he’s being manipulated when he receives a threatening phone call and a warning that he'd better rule against an influential senator, on trial for the potential involvement in the shooting death of her husband. Quinn believes the woman is probably guilty but doesn't take kindly to being coerced so he rules in her favor. He hates what he's done and how he's been made to compromise his standards. Quinn decides to resign but that's put on hold when a woman is brutally murdered and attempts are made on his own life. Phillip Margolin is the author of over a dozen New York Times bestselling novels. After two and a half decades as a defense attorney, an occupation inspired by his love of Perry Mason books, Margolin turned his attention to fiction but never left his courtroom experience behind. His first novel, Heartstone, received an Edgar nomination for best original paperback by the Mystery Writers of America and he has been crafting brilliant legal thrillers ever since. The Undertaker's Widow (1998) is Margonlin’s seventh novel and is a excellent example of his skill as a storyteller and writer.

A decent enough mystery surrounding the double murder of a well to do undertaker and the man who killed him by the undertaker's wife. Judge Richard Quinn has the case land in his courtroom, and immediately he feels pressure from outside forces as the widow, in trouble for the second death which doesn't appear to be as clean cut a case of self defense as it should, is also running for State Senate. There are those who would love to see her go down for the crime, while others want to get her off the hook. Quinn then falls for the oldest trick in the book: being seduced by a beautiful woman only to have pictures of his affair revealed to him, and later the world, if the case goes a certain way. Needless to say, there are twists and turns aplenty, but there are so many red herrings that it is impossible to not correctly guess who the real mastermind is very early on. Mr. Margolin, the author, should write screenplays for TV, and that isn't an insult, but the plot just seems so unbelievable at times that it would probably do well as a Dallas-style TV drama.
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This is not the most finely crafted novel I have ever read but it is one who's plot I hope I forget soon so I can read it again. Sometimes you just need the kind of book where you step into the first chapter and step out the last page and just enjoy it. That's this one. Judge Richard Quinn is working his way up the judicial ladder but he's still a man - pretty flawed as it turns out and not able to pick up on the big clues, but you like him. The philandering husband of a local husband is murdered in an apparent robbery…. Even if all you've read is this paragraph and the one above it, you get the gist pretty clearly.
Linda Fast
The Undertakers Widow was an ok read but there were too many people involved in the murders and deceipts. I found myself going back and rereading to get everyone straight.Ellen Crease shoots an house intruder who has murdered her very wealthy husband Lamar in an apparent robbery attempt. Crease is an ex cop who is running for the Oregon Senate and after the intruder is identified with a large amount of money located in his residence allegations begin to surface.Who was behind the murder? Was it political, was it the son who was written out of the will or was it Ellen herself who was about to be divorced.I actually did not figure out who was the actual killer till near the end of the book and for that reason the book held my interest. However I felt the book dragged slowly at times.
Well I don't know why this book was on my "Read" bookcase...because I just finished it and I KNOW that I haven't read this before.Anyway, it was an enjoyable thriller as thrillers go. Judge Richard Quinn is a very solid, upstanding, and honest judge who is faced with some incredibly hard choices as he is given a high profile murder case. He makes for a good lead character and one that you do root for as he tries to balance upholding the law with some unexpected personal upheavals.It's important to note that as I was reading this book, I did see shades of John Grisham, with multiple characters who may or may not be involved with the murder. In fact with so many characters involved and circulating, the story does get a bit . . . soft? A little stretched? Is that right? But even so, I found myself suspecting different people at different times and changing my mind. THAT for me tells me that the writer CAN write a real mystery in such a way as to confuse the reader - but NOT completely lose the reader. I hope that makes sense.It's fairly fast-paced and filled with a few cliches, but still enjoyable. I doubt I'd read it again, but I would recommend it to fill up some of your time. And? I think I'd like to read another book with Judge Richard Quinn as the central character - that could be fun!
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