Published 1993

Slander

Slander

Set in Seattle, Slander is written in the first-person voice of Elizabeth Finnegan, a feisty young trial lawyer who finds herself locking horns not for the first - or last - time with Hugh Vandergraaf, an arrogant yet charismatic Supreme Court judge.

Outraged by the lenient sentence Vandergraaf has just handed down to a convicted rapist, Elizabeth makes a statement that causes a stir. Vandergraaf, flirting with accusations of slander, publicly berates her. One day soon after, Elizabeth is visited by a Beatrice Struthers, a woman who claims that she was raped by Vandergraaf when they were both university students. When the firm's senior partners try to dissuade Liz from taking on a case of this complexity and controversial nature, her determination to nail Vandergraaf is only heightened.

In what promises to be the trial of her career, Elizabeth pieces together a portrait of a man who enjoys wielding power over women; someone seemingly addicted to sex. But all does not go according to plan. Along with the nagging feeling that her client is holding something back, a key witness is convinced not to testify. As Liz unconsciously follows the trail of her own instincts, she unexpectedly finds the answer to Beatrice Struther's secret, bringing about a startling revelation.

"He can move a plot ahead like no one else in this country... Deverell pulls the threads of his plot together in a most surprising way, but it would be criminal to disclose how he does it." Montreal Gazette

"Deverell is a brilliant craftsman of suspense. Not since Ross MacDonald have I read an ending with such a breathtakingly unpredictable twist." Kitchener Record

"An engrossing page-turner that kept me up way past my bedtime." Vancouver Province

"Fans get the full Monty with this compelling tale of high courtroom drama." Quill and Quire

"The real thrust of Deverell's book is political... As the courtroom drama is played out, we come to understand that Finnegan is up against more than one man: she's battling the entire institution of the old boys' network." Edmonton Journal

"Deverell gets inside a woman's head right down to the reinforced toe of her panty-hose. When Elizabeth Finnegan enters the male-dominated arena of the law, even the judge stands naked." Susan Musgrave.

"Ingeniously plotted and well written. More than just another courtroom drama, Slander is an apt commentary on the fraying fabric of modern human relations." Hamilton Spectator

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