William Deverell — Novelist

The official website of William Deverell, Winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing

Whipped: Toronto Star Review

by Jack Batten

At one moment in the seventh book in William Deverell’s smart, funny and cleverly plotted series featuring the ace barrister Arthur Beauchamp, Beauchamp says that, especially now in virtual retirement, he experienced “a feeling of being fully alive again” only when he walked into a courtroom. That sentiment somewhat applies to readers as well; they too come most alert in the passages when Beauchamp shows his wonderful forensic style before judge and jury.

All of this makes Whipped an exception in the series. Beauchamp’s client is his wife, Margaret Blake, MP and national leader of the Green Party, who is sued for slander by an odious Conservative cabinet minister. Lively and racy as the case is, it provides Beauchamp not nearly as much chance as usual to work his courtroom sleight of hand, apart, that is, from a dazzling piece of examination for discovery of the slimy Tory.

But, no matter, the rest of the narrative back home on Garibaldi Island packs more than the usual volume of rustically comic incidents involving all the usual nutty characters with a few extras thrown into the mix for very good measure.