The Stalking of Sheilah Quinn

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Sheilah Quinn does not particularly like her client, Arthur Ketterson IV. In fact, his handshake gives her a “wobbling” feeling. Yet Sheilah defends him against the charge that he murdered Jessica Giordano after bringing her home from a dinner date. Coincidentally, Jessica’s father, Rudy, is the contractor who will tear down the old courthouse when this last trial ends. The judge in the trial, Roger Hesterfield, is reluctant to move to the new courthouse that Rudy Giordano built.

Although Sheilah suspects that Ketterson is capable of murder, she is pleased at the outcome of the trial. The district attorney, Peter Mendez, is so distracted by his upcoming campaign for state attorney general that he cannot even say whether he will retry Ketterson. Sheilah argues successfully for bail, and Ketterson is released.

Ketterson had cleverly arranged for Sheilah to be his attorney in this trial because he had already been stalking her. Sheilah was his intended target; he had dated Jessica only as cover for watching Sheilah. Ketterson brings Sheilah flowers, but she has left for a weekend at a bed and breakfast with Frank Sikes, a detective in the Giordano case.

Ketterson decides to uncomplicate Sheilah’s life by murdering her law partner and her ill father. More murders occur involving people involved in the Giordano case, and Sheilah convinces herself that Ketterson is after her.

When Judge Hesterfield is finally forced to pack up and leave the old courthouse, the setting becomes the perfect place for a murderer to hide his victims’ bodies and a stage on which to eerily reenact the trial.