The Ehrengraf Fandango is the twelfth short story featuring the lawyer Martian H. Ehrengraf. He has a small room at his home reserved for attorney-client meetings. The room is a bit reminiscent of such a room at a police station as both the table and the chairs are bolted to the floor. The surroundings lean towards the austere and Ehrengraf may or may not be recording everything that goes on in the room. It is not exactly clear from the start that he pushes the legal boundaries hard if not flat out obliterating them. That talent comes in handy with his latest client, Cheryl Plumley, as the story begins.
The entire world knows she fired the gun that killed three people in a house on Woodbridge Avenue. She has no memory of actually going into the home and shooting Mary Beth and Richard Kuhldreyer as well as their neighbor, Patricia Munk. While her only explanation other than sheer madness for the crime would be satanic intervention, Ehrengraf has a much more down to earth explanation. Not only does he know how he can help her with the case, he has a few other ideas to help her and her future.
Along with a touch here and there of subtle humor, The Ehrengraf Fandango by Lawrence Block is a complicated multiple case mystery. The Plumley case is just part of a much larger tale in this work. Martian H. Ehrengraf is a lawyer who bends the law to suit himself and enjoys the fruit of his labors in the process. He only defends innocent clients and he never loses a case. If you need his services, it is always best to pay his free promptly and without delay.
Also present at the end of the book is the original introduction to the first story, The Ehrengraf Defense, written by Edward D. Hoch for the 1978 initial appearance in Ellery Queen’s mystery magazine. That is followed by two different afterwards from the author, first in 1994 and then 2014. Those pieces by Hoch and author Lawrence Block provide intriguing details about the dapper lawyer, the other eleven tales in the series, as well as publishing in general.
Material was picked up to read and review when the author made it free back in January.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2016, 2021