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A Reasonable Doubt: A Robin Lockwood Novel


A Reasonable Doubt: A Robin Lockwood Novel

Who doesn’t love a magician? Well, when it comes to Robert Chesterfield --- or Lord Chesterfield as he prefers to be called --- a great number of people. Instead of the charming illusionist who delights his audience, Chesterfield specializes in angering and cheating his colleagues, friends and aides, although some of his viewers do find him entertaining. The charlatan marries for money, then flirts with every pretty face he sees. He corrals investors, then skims off the funds. And he makes a habit of lying, just for fun. The man is shameless. No wonder he winds up dead. He made so many enemies, in fact, that the Portland police have more suspects than they know what to do with.

Oregon attorney Robin Lockwood became an avid fan of magic in her teens, so when Lord Chesterfield wishes to engage the services of Barrister, Berman & Lockwood, she’s intrigued. Years ago, Robin’s retired partner, Regina Barrister, represented Chesterfield in a murder case, which she successfully defended. What he brings to Robin now is much more tame --- simply patenting a magic trick. By the end of their initial meeting, she has formed a distinct opinion of the man, and it is far from a positive one. However, she has promised to look into his legal request.

"Margolin had fun writing A REASONABLE DOUBT, and every reader should have fun --- and waves of spine-tingling chills --- reading it."

Sometime later, Chesterfield invites her to a private showing of the Chamber of Death, his bombshell new act. As ever, Robin finds magic irresistible, so she and her investigator boyfriend accept. The illusionist pulls the feat off quite well in front of a select, limited audience, not all of whom are friendlies. But when the lights come up, he has disappeared.

Robin kept the magician’s retainer, but has no idea where he’s gone and doesn’t particularly care. People everywhere are looking for him, several with well-expressed malicious intent. When Chesterfield finally resurfaces, he’s ready to debut his Chamber of Death act to a crowded theater in Portland. He will need Robin’s help, though, because of all those out there wanting a piece of him. But hold on, just give him one more chance. Let the performer show everyone that he can pull this off with a bang. Then Vegas, baby! He’ll be able to make a fortune and pay everyone back. It sounds like a perfect plan. Of course, it doesn’t work out like that.

The murder is almost more puzzling than the magic. It’s committed onstage before a large audience, and no one saw who did it? Naturally, with so many magicians gunning for Chesterfield, suspicion falls squarely on them. Who more likely to pull off an illusion? The District Attorney assigned to the case buys into the obvious and, as he did so long ago when going up against Regina, becomes overzealous. Robin takes a much more studied and logical approach, which leads her to ultimately unmask the killer. But will she do it in time? This individual has a serious vendetta, and a list of victims yet to eliminate.

Phillip Margolin has penned a shelf of legal thrillers during the course of his career. Each one is unique, with a twist based on an actual case but taken to the next level with his clever creativity and intelligence drawn from his experience as a trial attorney. Margolin had fun writing A REASONABLE DOUBT, and every reader should have fun --- and waves of spine-tingling chills --- reading it.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on March 27, 2020

A Reasonable Doubt: A Robin Lockwood Novel
by Phillip Margolin

  • Publication Date: October 27, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 1250118883
  • ISBN-13: 9781250118882