Sunday, June 20, 2021

Stung by William Deverell


Multinational corporation Chemican has released a new pesticide.  The issue is that it tends to kill the honeybees that are necessary to pollinate plants on which we all depend.  The corporation denies that it's product is the culprit for the massive bee deaths and science can not definitively tie it to the deaths.  But environmentalist groups are sure that the pesticide is the culprit and one Canadian group makes plans to counter the release of more.

Seven young people, known as the Sarnia Seven, take matters into their own hands.  A young woman, who flirts with and seduces a man who has all the passwords to the factory entrances.  With the information she is able to get the group breaks into the factory and creates havoc.  All seven are arrested and put on trial.

This brings in lawyer Arthur Beauchamp.  Beauchamp has practiced law for many years although he has been out of the courtroom for several years.  He has been spending time on his remote island on the Canadian coast where he farms and enjoys the company of his loyal dog.  Beauchamp is drafted for the defense but what can he do?  There's no doubt the group did the deed and that what they did was against the law.  How can he defend them?  He hires an investigator and hopes for ammunition to fight against the prosecution.  His defense is that there are times when breaking the law is forgivable when the overall good is served.  Will that be enough?

I listened to this book.  There were three narrators; Rebecca Auerbach, Steve Camyn and Chris Humphreys.  Of the three, my favorite was the narrator giving Arthur's story.  I found the female narrator's voice a bit grating and not necessarily a good match for the free spirit of the female lead she was representing.

This is the latest novel in the Arthur Beauchamp series.  Legal thriller fans will find much to like in the courtroom scenes and exposure to Canadian law and how it differs from that found in American courts.  Some fans will be turned off by the constant references to older men and their sexual hijinks and the assumption that women decades younger are eager to fulfill the men's desires.  The narrative brings up the issues of the environmental crisis and the question of what is permissible when trying to save the world as we know it.  This book is recommended for legal thriller readers.

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