The Accused (Rosato & Associates #12) by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's Press hardcover, 20 October 2013).
I love the Rosato & Associates books. It's easy for any female reader to identify with Bernie, Mary and Judy, and the rest of their staff. I've always identified most with Mary, who loves her family, but finds them somewhat embarrassing at times.
There are many embarrassing family moments in this story, which opens a party celebrating Mary's partnership at the firm. Yes, Mary's parents are present, as are "The Three Tonys", friends of her father who treat Mary like a beloved niece, sometimes even "helping" her with her work.
Uncomfortable with Change, Mary's a little overwhelmed by being the center of attention. This pressure is eased by the arrival of a young woman hoping to hire her. Allegra Gardner is thirteen years old, and despite being too young to sign a contract, wants Mary to prove that the young man arrested for murdering her sister six years earlier is innocent, even though he pleaded guilty. She has her own funds, she says, and her parents are not opposed.
Since she's now a partner, Mary doesn't have to ask Bennie permission to take the case, but Making Decisions has always been difficult for her. She eventually decides to do it, and finds that it's even more complicated than she'd imagined.
Meanwhile, her boyfriend, history professor Anthony Rotunno proposes to her: yet another Big Decision to make, and more Change.
This is a little lighter and more romantic than Scottoline's earlier novels in the series, which may be disappointing to some readers, but I found it to be a delightful story that I completed in one afternoon.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to Edelweiss and St. Martin's Press for the e-galley.