Trial of Passion
Winner of the Dashiell Hammett award for literary excellence in crime writing in North America, and the Arthur Ellis award for best Canadian crime novel.
The germ of the idea which inspired this novel is a trial which excited the imaginations of headline writers with its accounts of sadomasochistic sexual acts in a bedroom of Vancouver’s poshest neighbourhood. But it is fully a work of fiction, and none of its characters bear any resemblance to real persons – including the author, who was thrust in the unenviable role of defence counsel.
The Resulting Plot:
Arthur Beauchamp, the brilliant lawyer first introduced in William Deverell's acclaimed novel The Dance of Shiva, is healing from a marital crisis on peaceful Garibaldi, a Gulf Island off the coast of British Columbia, where his biggest problem is dealing with his gently eccentric island neighbours.
But his relative idyll is interrupted when his former law colleagues plead for his return to lead the defence in the trial of Jonathan O'Donnell, the acting Dean of Law at the University of British Columbia. O'Donnell has been charged with raping one of his students, Kimberly Martin, a smart, tough woman used to getting her own way. Whether or not O'Donnell is found guilty, he has a lot to lose, but so does Martin – her engagement to a wealthy but pathologically jealous boyfriend.
Some sample reviews:
"WOW! It was one of the most pleasurable reading experiences of my life. The mystery aspect of this novel is top-notch, but it is easily surpassed by the larger-than-life character of Arthur Beauchamp, a truly memorableperson. Perhaps every five years or so I re-read a mystery - it is a rare occasion. I will re-read this book. It was such a delight. It is the best book that I have read in the 1990s. It is the only book in my 13 years of review that I have ever given five stars to." Geroge Easter, Editor, Deadly Pleasures.
"A distinct departure for Deverell, moving him to a richer and more complex area that retains a thriller's tension but brings depth of character and complex social issues into the mix." Vancouver Sun
"Brilliantly realized characters. A complex and surprising novel." Montreal Gazette
"A masterful job, a terrific book." Financial Post
"The pithy exchange between lawyers in court is more rivetting than the real thing... Literary suspense fiction which readers will find hard to put down." Calgary Herald.
"It is about love, passion, and fine lines too easily crossed. Deverell handles his material like the skilled artist he is, deftly keeping the reader in suspense until the astonishing conclusion." Saint John Telegraph-Journal