Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just Deceits: A Historical Courtroom Mystery

by Michael Schein

I love reading books that introduce me to pieces of history that I never knew about. I also love books that inspire me to do research along the way to verify if the history being presented is accurate. And I love a good courtroom drama. This book has all of that!

The unknown history deals with the trial of Richard Randolph and his sister-in-law Nancy Randolph. In 1792 they were accused of having an adulterous affair resulting in an unwanted pregnancy, birth and murder of said baby in order to avoid scandal. They hired as their attorney the young John Marshall, who was subsequently joined by the more mature Patrick Henry. All these well-known historical figures involved in an obscure yet scandalous legal battle. Richard Randolph, his wife, two brothers and Nancy lived on an estate named Bizarre, so this story originating from that property shouldn't come as a surprise as so much of these happenings are bizarre. This story is adapted from trial notes, public records and letters from that time. The trial itself contains some gottcha's on par with Presumed Innocent and similarly leaves the reader questioning the verdict.

Although the writing is a bit immature (it does improve along the way), Just Deceits is a debut novel  for Schein and it shows promise for future material. It was a free Amazon download when I got it, but is currently available for only $.99. This changes my negative experiences with free downloads, one out of five worth reading. Odds of success are still iffy.

I am being lenient in my rating because I'd like to encourage this guy to write some more.

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