CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 5. . . .October 24, 2008
Cyril F. MacIntyre is at it again. In this follow-up to Quid Pro Quo, he is two years older, though not much taller, a bit more rebellious, equally curious, and still playing private detective. Because Cyril's single mom, Andy, is very young—just thirty—Cyril has a lot more freedom and is sassier than most 15-year-olds, and because Andy is a lawyer, Cyril has a good working knowledge of the law. All of these factors play a part in landing him in more trouble than he knows what to do with.
This installment finds Andy with a boyfriend—the first Cyril can recall—and though he initially dislikes Biff, it doesn't take him long to change his opinion. For one thing, the guy cooks and cleans—two activities Andy rarely partakes in, and for another thing, Biff has a decidedly positive effect on Andy's disposition. As a result of both these things, Cyril gains an inkling of what normal life might be like.
Early on, Andy becomes the defense attorney for Chuck Dunkirk, a down-on-his-luck janitor accused of murdering a wealthy inventor. Andy's efforts are successful, the death is deemed an accident, and Chuck is acquitted, at which point he and Andy decide to sue the police for wrongful arrest. It's a long shot, but Andy is all about the underdog and jumps into the case with both feet.
But Cyril doesn't like Chuck, and as one suspicious event leads to another, he is soon devoting himself full-time to proving Chuck isn't the innocent victim he seems. In the process, Biff and Andy split up, Cyril's video assignment for school is stolen, he gets food poisoning, Biff starts stalking him, and he becomes chummy with the dead man's wife.
Like the first Cyril novel, Res Judicata begins each chapter with a legal term that somehow relates to the content of the chapter, and Cyril's legal smarts dictate his actions. Cyril makes a colorful narrator. He has a unique way of looking at things and expressing them to the reader, though his glib manner of speaking becomes a bit annoying after a while—for this grown-up anyway; younger readers might have no such difficulty. Grant's style of storytelling is reminiscent of the Polly Horvath books—fun but not quite realistic, though Grant's efforts are a bit less silly. The plot moves along briskly, and there's never a dull moment, but the reader never completely buys what Grant is selling.
Those who enjoyed Quid Pro Quo, will not doubt be equally entertained by this sequel.
Kristin Butcher lives in Campbell River, BC, and writes for young people.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.