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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Evil at Barristers Hall is a mystery novella written by Robert Groves. Lisa Evans was in the final lap of her marathon sprint towards becoming a lawyer. Passing the Bar Exam, a grueling multi-day ordeal, was the capstone of all aspiring lawyers’ educations. If law school graduates weren’t studying for some reason, then they were fretting and lamenting not doing so. Lisa and her friends worked to encourage and coach each other through this last all-important challenge. Lisa lived in the Barristers Hall Complex, which was directly across from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon where she studied. Many of Lisa’s friends and fellow students lived there as the complex had been designed specifically for law students by its law school alumnus owner-operator. In June, graduating law students were poised between the end of the semester and the looming bar exam. Lisa was no exception. She had gone home to visit her family in mid-June and then returned to her studies. But then she disappeared. At first, her fellow students, friends and family members figured she hadn’t returned their texts and calls due to her cramming for the bar. Then they started to worry. Where was Lisa, and what happened to make her disappear without a trace?
Robert Groves’s mystery novella, Evil at Barristers Hall, is a taut and suspenseful crime drama about a missing young woman. I loved the extra dimension Groves adds to the story in immersing the reader in Lisa’s recollections of her childhood and interactions with her sisters. The siblings’ strategy to get their mother to let them back into the house, by sacrificing the youngest of them, is hilarious. The author also gives his readers pertinent information with the precision of a crime reporter or police detective, and he offers them any number of red herrings and scenarios to consider in resolving the whereabouts and fate of Lisa Evans. Groves’s characters are credible; his writing is seamless and smooth; and his plot works very well indeed. Evil at Barristers Hall is most highly recommended.