Murder by Design: Betty Tima Gordon
Meeting someone special was what Sharon Berg hoped for and the someone special was law student David Farrell. Going to bars finding herself in the same one every Friday night, hoping that David would pay attention to her only made her vulnerable to his insults and lack of interest. When David finally does take some notice of Sharon a coin that she is wearing around her neck given to her that belonged to her brother causes him to run out of the bar and steer clear of her. Not knowing what caused him to run out, hoping to see him and catch his attention when he returned Sharon never realized that some attractions could be more than just fatal.
David Farrell has a secret that he does not want exposed and although he is charming, handsome and sort after. Paul Barlow is homicide division detective hoping to find a rapist that takes the shoes of his victims possibly as trophies after killing them. David Farrell our law student and Vietnam is engaged but has no qualms about cheating on his fiancé with an girl named Karen feeling totally justified because she did not follow the career pattern he had outlined for her, changed course midstream and although he went into the service that did not matter allowing him to have more then one dalliance. Karen Matthews is an older law student in her 40’s and gets caught up in David’s world.
Sharon Berg is totally in love or so she thinks with David Farrell and on one fateful night things would change for her. When David sees a Vietnam coin around her neck belonging to her brother that had passed, he becomes fearful and runs. Sharon realizing it is hopeless leaves the bar, gets into her car and has the feeling she is being followed. Getting home in the pouring rain she enters her townhouse takes a deep breath and tries to fall asleep only to be awaken by a sound and seeing a shadowy figure. Getting a kitchen knife to defend herself she loses the battle and when her friend Julie does not hear from her the follow day to go shopping she enlists the help of one of her neighbors and the manager of the complex only to find Sharon dead with a white scarf tied around her neck and posed as if she was taking a photo shot for a magazine. The author goes back in time to help readers meet David Farrell and his first encounter with a young girls named Karen who wanted to become a lawyer, her fears, the people she worked with and what happens when she meets David.
The author goes back in time and allows readers to get to know Karen, how she met David, then Kim and her relationship with David as well as why Vicki is leery of him and Karen’s reaction. Sometimes we are blind to what is really happening in front of us and when Sharon winds up dead, Karen is raped and things point to David as the rapist and killer why won’t Karen listen? The author takes us next into the police station as Vicki decides to tell her father about her fears about David, his relationship with Karen, which seems unhealthy and odd and their interview with Kim. As they put the facts together you begin wondering why Kim would not take a harder line with David and his affair with Karen and his possible relationship with Sharon. Vicki does not like David and really wants to nail him for what she thinks he did to Sharon. Kim Lowry works for Delta and when questioned by the police never falter even once and although she seems to care about David she does not seem to mind the fact that he cheats on her. Kim Lowry seems centered, focused and in love with David and no matter what he does she defends his actions but why? Vicki Sanders is bent on proving that he is dangerous and Karen will not believe her and their friendship is strained. There are many layers to this plot and many hidden secrets that unfold as the lawyers battle it out in court and evidence comes to light that a secret from someone’s past will explain something in the present. Why did Sharon latch on to David? Why did David rebuff her or did he? Why did someone orchestrate a murder that look perfectly choreographed as if he/she knew exactly how to create a murder that looked perfectly and beautifully designed.
The trial comes to pass and David thinks he will win but the DA is smart, astute and Paul Barlow and his partner Bob Laslo won’t stop until they find out who killed Sharon, what the link to the Vietnam coin is and why she had to die. The pieces finally fit together but you won’t believe how and the one thing the killer left behind that they never expected will do them in. As the DA Freeman wants her case wrapped up and won’t believe how Farrell gets the evidence needed to convict a killer that is hiding in plain sight. Paul Barlow is a great character and Vicki Sanders might just be his perfect match. Let’s hope the author teams them up to solve another case together. What is Karen’s final fate? The author shares her research into paranoia and other mental illnesses and allows the character presenting the information to engage readers in his testimony. Vividly depicted scenes. Great courtroom battles and a detective who would not give up! Will she and Vicki ever be friends again? A Murder by Design: A killer who created a scene right out of a horror magazine.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine