Putnam, May 2003, 24.95, 400 pp.
She is a world famous movie star married to the director who gave her a break that turned her into an American icon. When she is found murdered in her swimming pool, a stocking around her neck and her throat slit to the bone, the husband calls famous defense attorney Joseph Antonelli because he thinks the police will arrest him for the crime of premeditated murder. Joseph meets his client Stanley Roth, a few minutes before the police arrest the director.
Antonelli bails him out and agrees to defend him but there is no evidence that he can find that will exonerate his client. The only three people on the estate at the time of death were Stanley, the victim and the maid. Stanley's clothing in his hamper had his wife's blood on it and there is no evidence that Mary Margaret Flanders had any enemies. The trial is long, hard and nerve-wracking because for once Antonelli believes he is defending an innocent man.
STAR WITNESS is a great legal thriller, one that takes readers into the heart of Hollywood where appearances are everything and motives seem murky. The reader see the toll a high visible murder trial takes out of a lawyer, who in this case at least, defends a client more interested in creating another movie, certain he will be found innocent. It is fascinating to watch how a prosecutor could make a defendant look guilty with purely circumstantial evidence. D.W. Buffa keeps readers engrossed in this fulfilling drama that ends in a way nobody could have predicted.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner