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by Michelle Spring
Ballantine, April 1999
317 pages
ISBN: 0385424821

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Standing in the Shadows is the third novel featuring Cambridge-Academic-turned-Private-Eye, Laura Principal. Thirteen-year-old Daryll Flatt is serving time for the murder of his foster mother, Geraldine King. He has confessed to the killing and returns to say anything else about it. His much-older brother is resigned about his brotherís innocence but is interested in learning what made him do it. This is the reason he hires Laura.

Ms. Principal reluctantly agrees to take the case advising Howard Flatt that he might not like what she finds. He does not care; he only wants to see if there was anything he could have done to prevent this tragedy. Laura interviews friends and family from the deceased as well as the social worker involved in Daryllís case. What emerges is a lot of conflicting stories that do not make much sense leading to believe that the boy might be innocent.

The storyline is solidly built but carries few surprises. This is probably not the best book to start the series but it is still good. The information on the main character is relatively scant in order for the author to concentrate more on the case. The main thing we learn of Laura Principal is that she is quite resourceful. It will be interesting to read Springís previous novels to learn why a Cambridge college professor decides to quit her academic life and start working as a private eye. This reviewer would like to know.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, November 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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