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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Felony & Mayhem (Dec 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934609455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934609453
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 18.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #559,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the atmosphere of both the street people and the legal profession. It was very interesting as social commentary, but not so much as legal procedural.
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By A Customer on June 19 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a wonderful story.Using a former judge as a homeless person and as the narrator is a stroke of genius. It was a well thought out mystery with good character development and an interesting premise. As a former Torontonian, I was thrilled to see the attention to detail. The descriptions of the locations, the people and the flavor of the city was so accurate it made me homesick.I can't wait to read more of her work.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Believe it or not, the story works. Rosemary Aubert writes like a dream. Her protagonist, Ellis Portal, offers us a glimpse into a world we hope never to enter. The mystery is as compelling as the hero. I'm not going to go on and on about the story as some reviewers do. I'll only say this: To those mystery lovers who yearn for a masterfully told tale, snap this one up!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Ellis Portal - A Different Kind Of Hero March 6 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Although this book is now out of print, it would be worth hunting for because the main character of the book - Ellis Portal - is definitely a different type of hero.
Although street people are not people I normally come in contact with, I began to appreciate the problems Ellis Portal faced the more I got into the book.
This book is definitely work looking for and reading.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Proof that mysteries can be fine literature as well April 9 1998
By Kathleen T. Choi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Hero Ellis Portal was once a judge but now lives in a hut in Toronto's river park area. The novel is as much the story of his mental and emotional recovery as the solving of a crime. Aubert vividly describes the life of the homeless and the class barriers we all, often unintentionally, erect. Superb writing overcome a somewhat weak and rushed ending. Kathleen T. Choi, HAWAII CATHOLIC HERALD
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Liked the beginning but didn't sustain my interest May 21 2000
By Maureen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I found the book interesting from being told from the perspective of a former judge who is now homeless. The details of getting showers and meals and 'pride of place' were good. The regrets of letting go of the best of his former life ring true. However, the suspense, for me, didn't last until the end; the story got progressively thinner and less interesting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Free Reign Feb. 23 2000
By "blackjewel" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Once a powerful judge, Ellis Portal was convicted of a felony and disgraced. His life style has changed drastically. He is now living as a homeless person in a ravine along a Toronto river. While working in his vegetable garden, he finds a ring with a black hand attached to it. Ellis recognizes the ring as one of five that was exchanged between himself and four other law school graduates (all of whom were white). When the rings were exchanged, they were accompanied by a vow that each of them would perform one favor, no questions asked, for each of the others. During the book, this favor is called in twice for Ellis.
In order to solve the mystery of the ring, Portal needs to go back into the civilized world. When he does so as a vagrant, he is treated without respect. When he goes through great lengths to appear "normal", he is accepted. He first visits another street person, Queenie, who cannot help him but asks him to see how a young woman named Moonstar is doing. Moonstar is a prostitute who spent some time at a hostel called "Second Chances". She is convinced that the well-to-do hostel is responsible for spiriting away several people, including newborn babies of some of the women who reside there. Although this seems implausible to Ellis, he agrees to look into it.
His main connection whohelps in his investigation is a reporter named Aliana who treated him fairly during his worst ordeals. She is kind and helpful. She also serves a useful purpose in the story of being able to tap into information that Ellis needs to investigate Second Chances and the other lawyers with whom he made his pact.
The first two-thirds of the book were thought-provoking as it made the reader consider attitudes toward the unfortunates of society. However, the last third veered off into fantastic events, clichés and unbelievable happy endings for almost everybody. Aubert writes with great sensitivity about the intricacies of life on the streets as well as other issues such as prostitution, homosexuality and the vagaries of the justice system, all of which make this a book worth reading in spite of the overly fortuitous plot resolutions.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
captivating, unusual & fabulous June 18 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a wonderful story.Using a former judge as a homeless person and as the narrator is a stroke of genius. It was a well thought out mystery with good character development and an interesting premise. As a former Torontonian, I was thrilled to see the attention to detail. The descriptions of the locations, the people and the flavor of the city was so accurate it made me homesick.I can't wait to read more of her work.

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