In 2014 I read an intriguing legal mystery, The Last Billable Hour, by Susan Wolfe. Written in 1989 it was set in Tweedmore & Slyde a law firm serving the tech industry of Silicon Valley. The all important “billable hour” is impressed upon new lawyer, Howard Rickover immediately on starting work. As he adjusts to the very demanding life of a new lawyer in a busy firm murder intrudes when partner, Leo Slyde, is killed at a firm party. The killer is someone at the party. In a briskly told story Ms. Wolfe admirably combined a vivid picture of law firm life with a mystery. At the end of my review I said “I would like to read more of Ms. Wolfe”.
In a follow up post titled Who is Susan Wolfe?I recounted my online efforts to find out more about Ms. Wolfe and whether she wrote any subsequent legal mysteries.
I found several Susan Wolfe’s, including a pair in California, who were writers but none appeared to be the writer of The Last Billable Hour. One California Susan, the author of The Promised Land, was a “graduate of Stanford University and the prestigious Wexner Heritage Foundation in Jewish studies”. Another California Susan was co-author of From the Ground Up: Building Silicon Valley. Neither California Susan appeared to the right California Susan Wolfe.
Further online research indicated that she had not published any more mysteries but was working on a new legal mystery in 2013.
Inviting readers of the blog to help in my search I received a comment over a year later from Leslie Ingam of the Portuguese Artists Colony that “the” Susan Wolfe I was seeking had completed another mystery, Escape Velocity, which Ms./Mr. Ingam had read in manuscript form and described as “a treat”. The comment said the book would be published in the spring of 2016. I did not see notice of the book being published that spring and did not think more about the book.
Earlier this week I read a post by TracyK in her fine blog, Bitter Tea & Mystery, on her May reading which included The Last Billable Hour. She enjoyed the book and expressed regret Ms. Wolfe had not continued with a series.
Her post prompted me to see if Escape Velocity was published and I found it had been released in October of 2016 and that the author now had a website at
At last I was able to gain actual information on the author.
Her bio on the website sets out:
Susan Wolfe is a lawyer with a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Stanford University. After four years of practicing law full time, she bailed out and wrote the best-selling The Last Billable Hour, which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. She returned to law for aother sixteen years, first as a criminal defense attorney and then as an in-house lawyer for Silicon Valley high-tech companies. Born and raised in San Bernardino, California, she now lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, Ralph DeVoe. Her new novel, Escape Velocity, will be published in October of 2016.
I am glad to be able to answer “Who is Susan Wolfe?” and thank TracyK for the inspiration that allowed me to complete my quest.
Wolfe, Susan – (2014) - The Last Billable Hour and Who is Susan Wolfe"