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Book Review: Final Paradox by Mary E. Martin

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Mary E. Martin weaves an intricate tale of intrigue and betrayal in Final Paradox, the second entry of the Osgoode Trilogy. One doesn't so much read Final Paradox as be drawn into it. There are only six or so principal characters, but the the central one, Toronto attorney Harry Jenkins, is in many ways the least interesting.

The interlocking relationships between the characters are only revealed as necessary to further the plot. Martin is effective in keeping extraneous information to a minimum, focusing instead on how a missing stock certificate has influenced and continues to affect the lives of these people.

The certificate, and its whereabouts, is central to the story. At some point in the past, a group of con men made off with millions of dollars of money intended to fund a new drug company, Elixicorp. And then the money, and the shares in the company, disappeared. The man entrusted with both, Arthur Dinnick, died soon after the swindle and his widow, Norma, now elderly and in poor physical and mental health, seems unable or unwilling to help locate the missing fortune.

The story moves along briskly, with Norma filling in historical details while reminiscing about — or probably more accurately, retreating to — the past. The most serious plot hole is the "why now?" question. Why, after all these years, is retrieving the shares so important? Why didn't Dinnick's associates take action soon after his death, when presumably the shares would have been easier to locate?

A credible answer can be inferred by the reader, but is never actually presented as fact by the author. And that the book ends without resolving some other plot points doesn't come as a disappointment, for the enjoyment here is in the journey.

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