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Time Expired: A Jill Smith Mystery    by Susan Dunlap Amazon.com order for
Time Expired
by Susan Dunlap
Order:  USA  Can
Dell, 1994 (1993)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

As if a police officer's job were not difficult enough, homicide detective Jill Smith works in Berkeley, California, where a long-established tradition of liberalism and individuality means the police need to be politically sensitive and aware. Given this environment, her current case is a nightmare.

Jill is saddled with the task of finding the practical joker who has been targeting parking enforcement. Virtually everyone - even members of the force, even members of parking enforcement are in sympathy with the prankster. Elgin Tiress, head of the unpopular department, is anally fanatic about enforcement and quick to write tickets. Few seem to notice or care than the pranks are escalating in seriousness.

Madeleine Riordan is a witness who may have information about the prankster. She is disliked and feared by most of the force. Too many have been burned by this capable lawyer, who seems to enjoy going for the police jugular. Jill herself has been discomfited in a courtroom encounter. Even so, she remains a fair and competent investigator. When Madeleine asks to meet her later one evening, Jill senses a serious revelation. However, on her return she finds Madeleine dead.

Dunlap's protagonist is tough and conscientious, totally focussed on her job. (Her personal life is less well regulated.) The author presents an interesting case, peopled by well-fleshed characters. And because Jill is intelligent and sensitive, her cases are not totally black and white.

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