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Star Witness


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About the Author

D W Buffa served as a defence attorney for ten years. He is now a fulltime writer and lives in the Napa Valley, California. This will be his fifth book for Allen + Unwin following The Defense, The Prosecution, The Judgment and The Legacy.


Stanley Roth, a successful and talented writer/director in Hollywood, married Mary Margaret Flanders and gave her the break that turned her into an American idol. One day she is found in her swimming pool, a stocking around her neck and her throat slit. Stanley, afraid the police will arrest him, calls defense attorney Joseph Antonelli, a sophisticated, thoughtful, valiant man who is concerned with moral dilemmas, not just the law. The list of suspects includes Stanley; his partner, who wants to be in charge of their film studio, Blue Zephyr; Mary's ex-husband and the father of her child; and a blackmailing aspiring screenwriter detective, who once investigated a domestic violence complaint by Mary. In this captivating story-within-a-story, read by Buck Schirner, Stanley reveals his version of the tragedy by replaying his own screenplay Blue Zephyr, which he has yet to make into a movie. There are interesting twists that keep the listener in suspense, with well-developed characters and a complex and multifaceted plot. Overall, an enjoyable listening experience. Recommended for public libraries.-Carol Stern, Glen Cove P.L., NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

This uneven fifth novel in the Joseph Antonelli series (The Legacy, etc) has the colorful trial lawyer defending a legendary Hollywood director and studio mogul accused of murdering his movie star wife. Mary Margaret Flanders is killed just before filming the final scenes of a major new movie with her husband's studio. Stanley Roth, her husband, is known for his volatile temper, and becomes the leading suspect. Antonelli takes the case, and though he is sure that his client is innocent, he can't pin down the real killer. The list of suspects includes Roth's partner, who wants to take control of the studio; Flanders's college professor ex-hubby (father of the star's only child); and a blackmailing wannabe screenwriter cop, who had once been to the couple's house to look into Flanders's domestic violence complaint. Central to all this is Roth's obsessive conviction that the entire crime is a replay of his own masterpiece screenplay, Blue Zephyr, which he has yet to make into a movie. While the plot is solid, the first half of the thriller is considerably slowed by windy, repetitious description and exposition ("That's what she was: a young woman in love, but not with a man-with a camera: any camera, not just a motion picture camera.... That's what she lived for: to be on camera, to be on film..."). The pace does pick up when the action shifts to the courtroom, but this effort isn't up to Buffa's best. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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