Cover image for A stain upon the robe
A stain upon the robe
Devane, Terry.
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Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2003]

Physical Description:
295 pages ; 24 cm
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The Honorable Barbara Quincy Pitt has been selected to preside over the trial of a Catholic priest accused of raping twenty-three children in his former parishes. But the notoriety and horror of the case seem to be the least of the judge's problems. She has become romantically involved with a young law clerk assigned to assist her in this case. Now the young man has disappeared. Judge Pitt enlists the aid of her former classmate Sheldon Gold to locate the law clerk and prevent a scandal that would destroy her career. Assisting her boss, Mairead O'Clare finds herself caught between defending a client and pursuing justice-and it's not at all clear which will prevail.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The stained vestment of the title actually belongs to two professions: the clergy and the law. Eccentric heroine Mairead O'Clare--brought up by nuns in an orphanage, plagued by disfiguring port wine stains, and currently using her wary nature as a criminal attorney in a big Boston law firm--assists boss Sheldon Gold in a case that grows more disturbing with each discovery. A superior court judge has asked Gold to investigate the disappearance of her law clerk and lover on the eve of her trial of a Catholic priest accused of multiple child molestations. The romance has overtones of Gary Condit and Chandra Levy, a fact that could turn the trial into a media circus. O'Clare's investigation is like a minitour of Dante's circles of hell, as she confronts the horrors of priest pedophilia and waves of legal and political corruption. A gripping, though sometimes overwrought investigative and courtroom drama. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Despite its creaky, sensationalistic plot, Devane's third legal thriller (after Juror Number Eleven) satisfies, largely on the strength of its leads. This time, smart, depressive criminal defense attorney Sheldon Gold is approached by old flame Judge Barbara Pitt, who's presiding over the page-one trial of a Catholic priest accused of raping 23 boys. Judge Pitt says she's mystified by the recent disappearance of her hunky young research clerk, Charles Vareika, after admitting to sleeping with him. Afraid of a Gary Condit-type scandal, Pitt implores Shel to find Vareika without implicating her or tanking the trial. Shel mobilizes his usual team: Mairead O'Clare, the na?ve but tough young associate; Pontifico (the Pope) Murizzi, a street-smart, gay ex-cop turned private investigator; and Billie Sunday, a legal secretary with impeccable instincts and candid opinions. The pseudonymous Devane constructs the plot through a rather blocky series of interviews, as the team makes its rounds interrogating Vareika's unsavory friends, Pitt's cagey family members, several trial-watchers with competing agendas and the accused priest himself. Characters tend to speechify rather than speak; the priest takes a page from Hannibal Lecter when he insists on meeting Mairead in his lockup (" `I really enjoy telling [my story], young lady.' Now [he] pressed his nose against the screen, distorting his face into a gargoyle's mask. `I really, really do' "). Devane compensates for much of this artificiality by demonstrating hands-on intimacy with Boston's criminal justice system and by creating soulful, savvy, appealing protagonists who manage to excel at their jobs, despite the heartbreak in their private lives. (Oct.) Forecast: Disappearing interns and predatory priests: the plot points inspired by recent headlines may give this solid thriller by a pseudonymous Boston attorney and "award-winning author" extra legs. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved