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Murder at Black Oaks: Robin Lockwood #6    by Phillip Margolin order for
Murder at Black Oaks
by Phillip Margolin
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2022 (2022)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Murder at Black Oaks follows The Darkest Place as the sixth in Phillip Margolin's exceptional legal mystery series featuring young criminal defense attorney Robin Lockwood. A Yale Law graduate and ex-MMA fighter, she's a partner in a Portland, Oregon law firm. She suffered a great personal tragedy in the previous episode.

This episode opens in 1990, as Francis Melville (a young Deputy DA) watches the judge deliver a death sentence verdict on the case he just prosecuted. Young college student Jose Alvarez is found guilty. Afterwards, Frank switches to personal injury work and occasionally criminal defense.

In 1997 he takes on a case for wealthy Archie Stallings, who was his star witness in the Alvarez case. After they win, Archie admits to the murder that put Alvarez on death row. Attorney-client privilege prevents Melville from reporting it.

Fast forward thirty years. Frank's daughter Nelly asks Robin to come to Black Oaks (a manor in the Oregon mountains, reputed to be cursed) to discuss a legal matter with her dad. After she arrives, Melville asks her to do what he couldn't - save Alvarez's life. When she succeeds, Melville invites Jose to a celebration at Black Oaks.

Then Melville is found murdered in an elevator stopped between floors at the manor. It's 'a spooky mansion, an escaped madman, and a locked-room mystery', plus a second murder. It takes quite a while, but Robin does figure out whodunit, and it's a shocker.

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