Defending Britta Stein

St. Martin’s. (Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart, Bk. 6). Sept. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781250274809. $27.99. M
Balson’s sixth novel featuring attorney Catherine Lockhart and her private investigator husband Liam Taggert (after The Girl from Berlin) once again concerns events of World War II. In present-day Chicago, Britta Stein (a Danish immigrant and 92-year-old widow) accuses Ole Henryks (another Danish expat, who owns a popular Chicago tavern) of having collaborated with the Nazis, and she graffitis his tavern with the word “traitor.” Ole has long claimed that he rescued Jews during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, so he sues Britta for defamation. Catherine enters the picture when Britta’s granddaughter Emma, a young attorney, asks her to represent Britta; meanwhile, Ole hires flamboyant publicity hound Sterling Sparks. Catherine, Emma, and Liam need to find direct evidence that proves Britta is telling the truth; her memory of the occupation won’t suffice. Both she and Ole are in their 90s, so the case needs to be resolved quickly. Liam takes a trip to Copenhagen to search for evidence, while Catherine and Emma get Britta’s story.
VERDICT This historical novel highlights a lesser-known aspect of World War II and features strong women characters. A good choice for book clubs.
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