Joe McCray. Elusive Wisdom (2011) 357 pp. [tpo]
Publishers description: Having suffered the first trial loss of his career, Daniel Dermot ONeil, a San Francisco civil trial lawyer, licks his wounds. Three years later, the foreperson on that case is murdered in rural Mississippi, leaving behind an envelope with ONeils name and address. In it are copies of many canceled checks made out to the deceased for large sums, and a small, black and white photograph that provides a compelling clue as to the reason for the checks, if not the murder. ONeil is enlisted by the Mississippi Attorney General to help solve the murder, which may also be connected to other Mississippi murders. Although highly improbable, the evidence mounts that the murder victim was bribed for her vote in the Pavlone case. A relentless and dangerous pursuit of answers follows a path of murdered suspects and eventually leads to an enigmatic supposed insurance adjuster who shows up in high stakes cases where catastrophic injuries are caused by defectively designed products. The pursuit of answers and of justice takes ONeil around the country and into the arms of a brilliant, beautiful woman of diverse ancestry—a woman he cannot relinquish. Ultimately, he must let his lifelong friend, Joe Cleary, actually try the civil case that extracts the fortunes and the licenses of the principal players who had managed to escape criminal prosecution.
Setting: San Francisco; Mississippi