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Authors: William Deverell

Tags: #General Fiction

Mind Games

A Life on Trial: The Case of Robert Frisbee
“This is as good as it gets, the real goods from an ultimate insider.”

– Jack Batten,
Books in Canada

“Deverell has a narrative style so lean that scenes and characters seem to explode on the page. He makes the evil of his plot breathtaking and his surprises like shattering glass.”

Philadelphia Bulletin

High Crimes
“Deverell’s lean mean style gives off sparks. A thriller of the first rank.”

Publishers Weekly

“Here is another world-class thriller, fresh, bright and topical.”

Globe and Mail

The Dance of Shiva
“The most gripping courtroom drama since
Anatomy of a Murder.”

Globe and Mail

Platinum Blues
“A fast, credible and very funny novel.”

The Sunday Times
, London UK

“Deverell has a fine eye for evil, and a remarkable sense of place.”

Globe and Mail

Kill All the Lawyers
“An indiscreet and entertaining mystery that will add to the author’s reputation as one of Canada’s finest mystery writers”

The Gazette

Street Legal: The Betrayal
“Deverell injects more electricity into his novels than anyone currently writing in Canada – perhaps anywhere … The dialogue crackles, the characters live and breathe, and the pacing positively propels.”

London Free Press

Trial of Passion
“A ripsnortingly good thriller.”

Regina Leader-Post

is simply excellent: a story that just yanks you along.”

Globe and Mail



High Crimes
The Dance of Shiva
Platinum Blues
Kill All the Lawyers
Street Legal: The Betrayal
Trial of Passion
The Laughing Falcon
Mind Games


A Life on Trial
(previously published as
Fatal Cruise)

To the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association


Dr. Allison Epstein

Clinical Notes

Date of Interview: Monday, July 21, 2003
Subject: Timothy Jason Dare. Age 35; date of birth June 7
1968; height 6’1”; weight 171 lb

The patient is physically healthy, athletic in fact – he arrived on a bicycle and climbed five flights of stairs. He presented as rumpled in appearance but reasonably clean-shaven; unruly auburn hair falling below his shoulders; straight, attenuated nose; penetrating, deep-set green eyes, and a generally gaunt and haggard expression.

At the beginning he was pleasant, even engaging, though somewhat combative.
But as the session progressed he grew increasingly anxious, reciting several troubling stressors, the combined impact of which led him to my door. Later, I observed that occasionally instead of responding to a question, he wandered off into a world of his own.

Central to the patient’s emotional deterioration is the recent failure of a relationship with Sally Pascoe, 34, a visual artist. The patient grew up with her in the same Vancouver neighbourhood, and they’ve lived together for the last twelve years. Other major stressors include “stalking” by an alleged psychopathic murderer
and “getting kicked in the scrotum” by the professional association of which we are both members, the psychiatric division of the College of Physicians.

He is clearly suffering a stress disorder. This condition has been exacerbated by the sporadic occurrence of claustrophobic dread, an episode of which I witnessed as I accompanied him to the elevator. He hesitated there, then took the stairs.

Selections from the transcript follow, with my notations.

I’m told you’re a good old-fashioned Freudian.

Does that seem
, Dr. Dare? I try to use an array of tools.

He did some spectacular work with wealthy Viennese women suffering hysterical – or perhaps I should use the current newspeak, histrionic personality disorders, but … Never mind. Evelyn Mendel says you have an exceptional talent. McGill?

Yes, I just left a practice in Montreal.

What brought you to Vancouver?

My husband was offered a position.

You don’t wear a ring.

That’s right.

You kept your name?

So did he. Richard Spencer.

Assertive, independent, yet prepared to accommodate the aspirations of her goal-oriented partner.

I was warned about this

Yes, that’s fairly put, I suppose … what do you prefer … Timothy? Tim?

What do

Whatever you’re comfortable with.

How about you? Allison? Allie?

I’m Allis to my friends. Which is what I hope we’ll be after we stop sparring like newly met children in a schoolyard.

He took that the right way – he is capable of laughter

I’m Tim to my friends. You’ll like Vancouver when it stops raining. Do you have kids?

I’m afraid not.

You’re working at it.

Very quick to pick up nuances. His reputation in that regard was well demonstrated here

What does he do? Your husband.

Richard is a partner in a media consulting firm, Spencer, Lang, and Associates. They do some polling, public relations. But let me ask – why me? I know Dr. Mendel gave you my name, but what kind of therapist were you looking for?

She said you did dreams. Mine are trying to tell me something. She also said you were smart and attractive.


I’m just repeating. Does that make me sexist?


He laughed once more, genuinely. In his favour he doesn’t seem one to put on a false face

I’ve been in the business only four years …

That’s good. Fresh approach. I’ve been seeking someone who doesn’t know me. Someone new in town. Not set in her ways.

Or maybe someone who doesn’t feel offended by your published critiques of what you call the psychiatry industry?

That was unprofessional of me, but I had allowed him to get under my skin

I’m impressed – you’ve done some homework. You a strong feminist?

Tim, might I be allowed to ask some of the questions? We only have an hour today …

I was just wondering about your Freudianness. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support the industry that specializes in debunking him, he remains the master, but those Viennese women were victims of an age when gender oppression was
the norm. He failed to factor that in … Sorry, I suppose I’m procrastinating.

His cross-examination of me, and his brief rambles, seemed an indicator not merely of discomfort but of a slightly manic state. He finally took to the couch, though I continued to sense resistance as he kept his arms folded

I’ve always thought this configuration too distancing. I prefer to see my patients. You read as much by watching as listening, even if it’s only the play of silence on a face. I grant that your methodology is more orthodox – the mere presence of the therapist distracts the patient from the free flow of imagery.

You through?


After he finally allowed me to take some of his history, another tussle followed when I attempted to explore the nature of his current concerns

Jesus, this is hard. Okay, crisis number one: my partner for life – or so I assumed – broke up with me ten days ago. I’m having a hell of a problem coping.

What’s number two?

A psychopathic killer is stalking me.

Uh … Well, that’s a big item.

Yeah, and another secretary quit on me, and my office is chaos, and I’ve been threatened with being purged from the medical ranks. But the biggest item is getting kicked out of Sally’s life like a bad habit.

Okay, sure, but … sometimes dramatic but less relevant material clogs the circuits. I’d like to assess the seriousness of this stalking threat.

I sense incredulity.

Not at all. Tell me about it.

Okay, well, this goes back to the murder of Dr. Barbara Loews Wiseman. You remember that, six years ago? Maybe you were still at McGill.

Yes, but … Remind me.

Okay, Barbara was a brilliant therapist, a friend, more than that, a spiritual guide during my internship. Feminist, lesbian. She specialized in anger management. Robert Grundison II, a kid who’s hog rich, stabbed her to death because he decided she was Satan incarnate.

I remember the news stories … He was hallucinating.

So he claimed, so did the army of shrinks who testified – I was the main witness against him, the
expert witness who disbelieved him. And of course the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity. Sent off to a mental hospital to
Can you imagine? Sick, evil …

Slow and easy.

Ah, Allis, what a piece of work you have before you. As you led me from your consulting room to confront the dreaded elevator, I saw you woefully shake your head. How, you were wondering, can you expect to repair this tattered psyche in the weekly hour allotted to me?

I’m sorry that we ran out of time today, your patient having wasted much of it with his fiddling and farting. I should have known better than to try to grasp the reins of therapy. I felt you were less interested in an everyday bargain-basement marriage breakdown than by the grim portents of murder, and I needed desperately to talk about Sally, my grief, my suppressed anger, I wanted pity and solace.

This evening, even as my mind replays today’s awkward session, do you sit with Richard at the dinner table, entertaining him with my persecutory delusions? “He claims someone wants to
him?” “Yes, dear, and I can understand why.”

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