Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
The Fall is the sixteenth in the Dismas Hardy series from this popular writer of legal thrillers; offering a complex and interesting police and courtroom procedural set in San Francisco with a wide range of characters. Its great strength is in the trial itself, starring The Beck, Dismas’s daughter Rebecca, who leads for the defence.
San Francisco’s traffic comes to a stop when seventeen year old Anlya Paulson is killed in a fall from the overpass over a tunnel onto the cars beneath. Did she fall or was she pushed? It’s the latter – and the police investigation is quickly underway. Schoolteacher and charity volunteer Greg Treadway is speedily charged with her murder. The prosecution case looks strong with plenty of evidence, however Dismas and Beck look more deeply into Anlya’s short and tough life revealing other possibilities.
For those familiar with this well-established series, the many characters who appear in the early part of this novel might make the beginning of the story a pacier read than it was for me, as a newcomer to it. The triumph of the novel however lies in the trial itself. The legal to-ing and fro-ing are good, but what brought these scenes alive for me was the attention the author paid to The Beck’s thought processes and reactions while the trial was in progress. That made excellent drama.