O'Shaughnessy, Mary (Perri O'Shaughnessy, Joint Pseudonym)
(Perri O'Shaughnessy, joint pseudonym)
PERSONAL: Born in CA; married; children: three. Education: University of California, Santa Barbara, B.A. (magna cum laude).
"nina reilly" series; with sister, pamela o'shaughnessy, under pseudonym perri o'shaughnessy
Motion to Suppress, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Invasion of Privacy, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Obstruction of Justice, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Breach of Promise, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Acts of Malice, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 1999.
Move to Strike, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Writ of Execution, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Unfit to Practice, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Presumption of Death, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: Mary O'Shaughnessy and Pamela O'Shaughnessy write together under the pseudonym Perri O'Shaughnessy, a combination of their own names and a tribute to Perry Mason, the character created by Erle Stanley Gardner. The sisters have turned out a series featuring attorney Nina Reilly, a Lake Tahoe lawyer who practices in the same town where Pamela once had a solo practice.
In the first book of the series, Motion to Suppress, Nina, also the single mother of Bob, moves from San Francisco to Tahoe after her husband betrays her. Her first client is Misty Patterson, a cocktail waitress accused of killing her husband. Marilyn Stasio, of the New York Times Book Review, assessed the novel, noting that trial lawyers who turn to writing "can usually crank up some verisimilitude for their courtroom scenes," but added that Perri O'Shaughnessy, the lawyer-writer combo, "accomplishes much more."
Invasion of Privacy features characters who include murdered filmmaker Terry London. The suspect is Bob's father, Kurt Scott, and Nina must create his defense. A Publishers Weekly contributor called this book a "deft, multileveled tale of legal and criminal treachery."
Nina's adventures, both in and out of the courtroom, and including her romantic alliances, continue through yearly releases. Unfit to Practice follows the action put into motion by the theft of Nina's truck, which contained sensitive case files, and leads to her possible disbarment. A Kirkus Reviews contributor summed up the book, writing, "An idealistic lawyer staggers under the weight of legal and ethical charges you can be certain will never stand up in court. Nina's eighth may be her most irresistible to date." Mary Frances Wilkens from Booklist agreed, "What really gives this legal thriller its appeal is the genuinely unusual premise."
Presumption of Death is the sisters' 2003 installment. Nina finds herself searching for a deadly arsonist and defending an accused young man whose defense is nonexistent. A critic for Kirkus Reviews deemed the story "great fun" and Karyn L. Barr from Entertainment Weekly wrote that the book "offers enough steamy sexual tension, curiously bewitching characters . . . and head-spinning plot twists to make for a fiery read."
The O'Shaughnessy sisters talked about what it's like to share plotting and writing tasks on their Web site: "We sometimes juggle the writing back and forth, scene by scene. . . . We are chronic tinkers, who even went so far as to change the murderer in the fourth draft during the writing of our first published novel. . . . The main thing that works about our collaboration is that we have come to trust and respect each other as writers. We like to think Perri takes what's best in both of us and puts it into the finished draft."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist June 1, 2002, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Unfit to Practice, p. 1646.
Entertainment Weekly, August 1, 2003, Karyn L. Barr, review of Presumption of Death, p. 82.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1996, review of Invasion ofPrivacy, p. 923; July 1, 1997, review of Obstruction of Justice, p. 978; May 1, 1998, review of Breach of Promise, p. 610; May 1, 1999, review of Acts of Malice, p. 659; June 15, 2000, review of Move to Strike, p. 825; May 1, 2001, review of Writ of Execution, p. 615; July 15, 2002, review of Unfit to Practice, p. 985; June 1, 2003, review of Presumption of Death, p. 776.
Library Journal, July, 2003, Nancy McNichol, review of Presumption of Death, p. 124.
New York Times Book Review, August 6, 1995, Marilyn Stasio, review of Motion to Suppress, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, May 8, 1995, review of Motion toSuppress, p. 285; July 8, 1996, review of Invasion of Privacy, p. 75; July 7, 1997, review of Obstruction of Justice, p. 50; May 4, 1998, review of Breach of Promise, p. 202; May 24, 1999, review of Acts of Malice, p. 63; July 10, 2000, review of Move to Strike, p. 43; June 11, 2001, review of Writ of Execution, p. 57; June 10, 2002, review of Unfit to Practice, p. 40.
Perri O'Shaughnessy Home Page,http://www.perrio.com/ (June 9, 2003).*