Kate Wilhelm is an accomplished author with over thirty novels and a dozen collections of short fiction on her resume’.


But this was my first read of hers, and a friend passed me her Northwest mystery, Death Qualified.  More than a legal thriller, and not a traditional mystery at all, but a read that has more twists and turns than an Alps switchback road.

Barbara Holloway has literally run away from practicing law in her father’s practice.  When he summons her home to help him defend a neighbor accused of killing her husband, Barbara must examine her past, and come to terms with her future.  Barbara is “death qualified” –legally able to defend clinets who face the death penalty if convicted.


And what a case Frank Holloway has given his daughter–Nell Kendricks is accused of shooting the husband who abandoned her and his two children.  In order to save Nell, Barbara and Frank launch into finding out where Lucas Kendricks has been for the past seven years, and the answers turn up an extraordinary sequence of events.

Wilhelm must have done exhaustive research to complete this book.  I won’t give away any of the details, but here is a quote from the New York Times Book Review: “A book not about ideas but about the impact of ideas . . . The ending, which I found both surprising and believable makes good on all her promises.”

I’ll be looking for more from Wilhelm.