If you like your denouements in crime writing - ones you could never predict despite your experience of the genre, Sydney Bauer is the author for you. In Alibi, the third of her six novels featuring top shot Boston criminal defence lawyer, David Cavanaugh, there are more twists and turns than the ivy vine itself as she sets her tale amongst the Ivy League set of a prestigious law school.
James Matheson is a privileged young law student who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, the exquisite Japanese fellow student, Jessica Nagoshi. Jessica is equally privileged, but she seeks to share the fruits of this privilege with the exploited workers of the third world through the Global Solidarity movement, founded by the precocious seventeen-year-old, Sawyer Jones. Sawyer also has a privileged background, and sees himself as connected with Jessica because of their common goals for the poor, and is also physically and emotionally attracted to her.
James is one of a trio of very intelligent and extremely wealthy law students who devise a richly rewarding scam to prove themselves intellectually superior to not only their lecturers, but also to the legal system in general. Also out to prove himself as superior, in business particularly, is the ruthless Peter Nagoshi, Jessica's brother. Equally ruthless is the ego driven Acting District Attorney Katz, the prosecutor in the murder trial. Many people suffer physically and emotionally as a result of their actions, but undoubtedly all of these schemers would have considered this as collateral damage. They are determined to achieve their ends through fair means or foul.
Many current social and legal themes arise throughout the story – the exploitation of the workers in China, industrial espionage in that country, the laws relating to double jeopardy, and the power of money to buy justice. Although the law and the lawyers prove to be asses in this murder case, the reader is left with the hope that justice will prevail in a civil court. To quote David Cavanaugh as he hands over evidence to John Nagoshi, Jessica's father and billionaire international industrialist, "When it comes to the civil court, justice and money are interchangeable."