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Grave Designs

by Michael A. Kahn

Series: Rachel Gold (1)

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561358,325 (3.55)3
Graham Anderson Marshall III of Abbott & Windsor was the archetype of the powerful senior partner at a major corporate law firm. But then came his bizarre death, the kinky details of which his firm tried to squelch. After his funeral, other curious details of his private life surfaced, the most troubling - and potentially embarrassing, at least for his former firm - is a codicil to his will establishing a large trust fund for the care and maintenance of a grave at a pet cemetery. The issue? Neither Marshall nor anyone in his family ever owned a pet, much less one named Canaan. The problem? Abbott & Windsor is named as the sole beneficiary if the trust is deemed invalid, which means it has a conflict of interest. And thus, Abbott & Windsor turns to Rachel Gold, the savvy young attorney who left the prestigious firm to open her own law office. Rachel is retained to find out what is in Canaan's grave at Wagging Tail Estates. Amused and bemused, Rachel assumes she will be able to wrap up the assignment in a few days. By then, however, the grave has been robbed. All that's left is the gravestone with the mysterious name CANAAN etched in marble. Teaming up with her best buddy, the brilliant Benny Goldberg, Rachel sets out in search of the stolen contents of that grave. An ominous trail of clues leads into the heart of a secret legacy of three centuries of blackmail, sexual depravity, and murder. While tracking whatever had beenin Canaan's grave, it soon becomes apparent to the team that someone has plans for Rachel Gold's grave.… (more)
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Rachel is hired by the managing partner of her old firm to find out who or what is "Canaan." At issue is the execution the will of a recently deceased (he died in flagrante) partner in the firm who had added a bizarre codicil to his will two years earlier. This addition provided for the maintenance of Canaan's grave, which happened to be in a pet cemetery, yet to the best of everyone's knowledge, he had never owned a pet.

Kahn has woven an intriguing plot related to a book written by someone who had attended Barrett College that purports to relate the story of a lottery in a town that ceased to exist. The story flows well and keeps the pages turning. My only quibble was Paul, Rachel’s erstwhile ex-boyfriend who happens along at a convenient time with a copy of the book (he was a Barrett graduate, also) even though his knowledge of it is explained adequately. I had hoped for a more satisfactory ending that might have involved some legal shenanigans rather than a moray eel. But it's Kahn's first and the legal end becomes more pronounced in later volumes.

Much like another of Kahn’s stories, this one also has a code as its key. It was hard to believe this was the first book by Kahn. Having read a couple out of order, I’m now going to read them all in the proper sequence. In this book, Rachel is still in Chicago, Benny has just been hired to teach, but Ozzie is still a presence. ( )
  ecw0647 | Mar 28, 2014 |
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Graham Anderson Marshall III of Abbott & Windsor was the archetype of the powerful senior partner at a major corporate law firm. But then came his bizarre death, the kinky details of which his firm tried to squelch. After his funeral, other curious details of his private life surfaced, the most troubling - and potentially embarrassing, at least for his former firm - is a codicil to his will establishing a large trust fund for the care and maintenance of a grave at a pet cemetery. The issue? Neither Marshall nor anyone in his family ever owned a pet, much less one named Canaan. The problem? Abbott & Windsor is named as the sole beneficiary if the trust is deemed invalid, which means it has a conflict of interest. And thus, Abbott & Windsor turns to Rachel Gold, the savvy young attorney who left the prestigious firm to open her own law office. Rachel is retained to find out what is in Canaan's grave at Wagging Tail Estates. Amused and bemused, Rachel assumes she will be able to wrap up the assignment in a few days. By then, however, the grave has been robbed. All that's left is the gravestone with the mysterious name CANAAN etched in marble. Teaming up with her best buddy, the brilliant Benny Goldberg, Rachel sets out in search of the stolen contents of that grave. An ominous trail of clues leads into the heart of a secret legacy of three centuries of blackmail, sexual depravity, and murder. While tracking whatever had beenin Canaan's grave, it soon becomes apparent to the team that someone has plans for Rachel Gold's grave.

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