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Defending Britta Stein    by Ronald H. Balson order for
Defending Britta Stein
by Ronald H. Balson
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Defending Britta Stein is the sixth in Ronald H. Balson's legal thriller series starring passionate attorney Catherine Lockhart and her protective investigator husband, Liam Taggart. As he did in Once We Were Brothers and Karolina's Twins, the author examines what ripples down through the years as consequences of the horrors of the Holocaust.

In 2018 Chicago, the Danish/American Association is about to induct ninety-five year old restauranteur Ole Henryks into its Hall of Fame, for his charitable work. Henryks is lauded as a hero in Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II. But elderly Britta Stein remembers it quite differently and spray paints the walls of his restaurant. She's charged for defacement of property and sued by the restauranteur and his son for defamation.

When a respected colleague asks Catherine to defend Britta, she's reluctant at first, but is eventually swayed by Britta's granddaughter, Emma Fisher, a young attorney. Though Catherine advises settling, Emma's Bubbe insists that 'A true Dane will stand her ground and fight.' So Catherine takes on 'an unwinnable defamation case.'

Catherine gradually hears frail Britta's story of growing up in a Jewish family in Copenhagen with her beloved elder sister Grethe; Denmark's surrender to Germany and Nazi occupation; Grethe's marriage to Lukas, their involvement with the Danish resistance, and the birth of their baby; and the Hendricksens' collaboration with the Nazis and where it led.

Britta receives threatening phone calls. Catherine's office is attacked. Hendryk's lawyer, Sparks, milks the media at every opportunity, and Liam heads to Denmark in a race against time to find evidence. Of course, Catherine wins her case, with a twist of an ending. What makes this such an exceptional read though, are its fascinating insights into life in Denmark during WW II. Don't miss Defending Britta Stein.

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