Matthew Hope is a divorce lawyer in the town of Calusa, Florida, where the Gulf waters are warm and the women on the beach topless. One such woman, Michelle Benois Harper--a striking beauty with cascading black hair--enters Matthew's office revealing swollen eyes and a bruised and battered body. After making a statement with the cops saying her husband did it, her body is found on the beach, burned beyond recognition.
George N. Harper is a hulking man with pockmarks, flaring nostrils, and rheumy eyes--the ugliest accused man Matthew has ever seen. But something's not quite right about the case--Harper loved his wife. Yet the cops and lawyers are ready to hang the man who could extinguish such a beautiful woman, and it's up to Matthew to prove his innocence.
An instant classic in the Matthew Hope series from Ed McBain, Beauty and the Beast pairs the good-hearted lawyer with a client who tests his prejudices and proves beauty may be skin deep, but ugly is in the bones.
Born in New York, Evan Hunter (1926-2005) wrote the screen play for Hitchcock's The Birds in 1963. He received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and is one of three American writers to be awarded the Diamond Dagger for a lifetime of achievement by the British Crime Writers Association. Under the name Ed McBain, he authored the sprawling 87th Precinct series -- the longest, most varied crime series in the world -- which includes fifty-five novels about a fictional team of policemen, and thirteen novels in the Matthew Hope series featuring an up-and-coming lawyer in the Florida Gulf Coast. Known for tackling controversial content with a thoughtful eye, he is the author of over eighty novels.