Thursday, March 23, 2017


A recovering addict of the defunct TV series Boston Legal, I was hoping Con Chapman's cast would include at least some of the usual suspects in a Boston law firm - the nutty but lovable aging partner, the silver-tongued courtroom lion, the stuffy senior partners, feisty young turks, bimbos, serious babes and minor, backstabbing office politicos.

      Happily A View of the Charles does have them all - except the silver-tongued courtroom lion. Well, maybe it does at that, but we never get to see Gil Finnerty in a courtroom because A View of the Charles is the first of many books about lawyers I've read that never sets foot in a courtroom.

      A View of the Charles approaches the subject of lawyers and their fears, joys, quirks, suspicions, hopes, fantasies, lusts and resentments with such knowing subtlety (Did I mention Chapman's a lawyer?) that we conclude from the following brief conversation between two lawyers who are not close - Finnerty and Jared Berger - that Finnerty likely would fill quite admirably the role of silver-tongued courtroom lion:

      Berger: "I've got a couple of disputes that are going to end up in court soon and I need someone who's a real asshole."

     There was silence for a moment as Finnerty absorbed this last comment.

      Finnerty: "I didn't know you felt that way about me, Jared. Thanks--I really appreciate it."

      Berger: "No problem. You're one of the best."

      Finnerty: "You can be a real asshole too, you know."

      Berger: "Coming from you, that's high praise."

      Finnerty: "Well, I mean it."

      Berger: "Thanks."

Chapman - a real...Boston lawyer

      I can almost see the two of them sipping brandy and smoking cigars, enjoying the evening view of Boston from a veranda outside Berger's office after a tough day of litigation. Two assholes and damned proud of it. 

[For more Friday's Forgotten Books check the links on Patti Abbott's unforgettable blog]


  1. I loved BOSTON LEGAL - especially the very last episode which to me, was classic. I loved William Shatner especially. Both the leads were great. I thought the series was best in the first year. Later, whenever I would waltz in to see an episode now and then, it was always Shatner I wanted to watch interacting with the cast.

    Is this book fiction, Matt? Not sure from your review.

    For whatever reason, lawyers seem to make good fiction writers. :)

  2. It's fiction, Yvette. Con's a very prolific writer, with a number of novels and collection of poetry and stories. In fact he currently has an excellent social satire up on Fictionaut. It's called <Dinner with the Footnotes.

    The last episode's my favorite, too, when "Alan Shore" fired the Chinese bankers who'd bought the parent firm and had plans to lay off staff. Wonderful scene!

  3. I love both James Spader and William Shatner, so I don't know why I only watched a few of the Boston Legal episodes. This book does sound good, although I haven't read many legal mysteries (relatively speaking).

    1. Had I been feeling better, Tracy (flu really knocked me down)I would have spent more time on this and indicated it's a satire, droll and straight-faced, much like Boston Legal was.

    2. That extra info makes the book sound even better, Mathew. I am sorry about you having the flu and I hope you are fully recovered now.

    3. Thanks, Tracy. A little bit better each day. This thing has overstayed its welcome.