Books: Classy Sleaze

KENNEDY FOR THE DEFENSE

by George V. Higgins

Knopf; 225 pages; $9.95

He does not wring confessions out of witnesses or win acquittals for innocent clients. He never affects tailored suits or dour expressions. There is no need for him to impress his clients. The people who come for help are usually guilty as charged. What they need is not style, but help. And that is exactly what they get from Jeremiah Francis Kennedy, whose wife refers to him as "the classiest sleazy criminal lawyer in Boston."

Fiction is full of lawyers, from Louis Auchincloss's...

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