Cover image for Undue influence : a novel
Undue influence : a novel
Yastrow, Shelby.
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Chicago, Ill. : Contemporary Books, [1990]

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Who would have thought probate court could be so exciting? No chase scenes, no guns, no murders. It's not even a slighted relative that causes all the trouble here, as seven lawyers gather for the kill when a seemingly innocent and aboveboard will is filed for probate. Excellent reading for those who enjoy cerebral humor and knotty legal issues. The book even comes with Scott (Presumed Innocent) Turow's seal of approval. --Cynthia Ogorek

Publisher's Weekly Review

Attorney Yastrow's slow-starting first novel takes place in Chicago's law offices, a quack cancer clinic and a judge's chambers. But just when readers may be ready to give up, the author's detailed knowledge of the legal system, his feisty villains, believable heroes and intriguingly original plot all take hold, creating a first-rate suspense story that is hard to put down. The centerpiece of the tale is Benjamin Stillman, low-paid bookkeeper at a brokerage firm, who dies at 83. Stillman leaves $8 million to a synagogue he had never attended; in fact, he was a Catholic. Philip Ogden is the small-time lawyer who unexpectedly becomes the protector of the will. Ogden's challenges include determining whether any heirs exist, deciding why someone would leave all his wealth to an institution representing a religion he himself didn't espouse, and learning where all the assets came from. Was Stillman a humanitarian thief? In any case, this is an engaging picture of the legal profession portrayed as corrupt, egotistical and morally complex. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Who is Benjamin Stillman, where did he get eight million dollars, and why would a practicing Catholic bequeath such a fortune to a synagogue? The search for answers to these questions makes for an exciting, fast-paced story about an unlikely subject--the probating of a will. Events are more important here than characters, who are all types serving particular functions: the white liberal and the angry black, who end up friends; the aggressive, unscrupulous female attorney; the flamboyant shyster; the nit-picking, brow-beating judge. The legal maneuvers are carefully explained, but never dull, and the descriptions of the Chicago locale merit special mention. This first novel by a corporate lawyer will have particular appeal to fans of the courtroom genre, but also to anyone who enjoys a good story of human dishonesty and greed.--Marcia R. Hoffman, M.L.S., Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Somerville, N.J. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.