An Honest Man Simon Micheal

 

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An Honest Man Simon Michael

Early 1960’s London.

A diamond heist and the death of a woman start this story. What follows is a brilliant story that has all the classic ingredients of a one set in this era,

Moral dilemmas

Family dilemmas

Dodgy policing

Sex and gangland violence.

If that isn’t enough to get you reading, this is a book which I would have read in one sitting if time would have allowed it.

Criminal Defence Barrister Charles Holborne is back. Months after being cleared of killing his estranged wife, he is now being ostracised by his profession. Rumours are abounding that he was responsible for her death even though he was never charged.

Now working in another firm Charles’s money is running low and he is getting no work. No solicitors are commissioning him, and he’s living off scraps given by the court.

After a chance meeting with a Legal Clerk from his old firm Charles gets retained to defend a solicitor who is being accused of aiding criminals.

From the beginning, it looks like the Solicitor has been hassled by the police and that he has been framed by them in revenge for them losing an earlier case.

The deeper into the case Charles looks the more convinced he is of the Solicitors innocence.

Meanwhile Charles’s personal life is taking its toll. His father is taken seriously ill and this affects Charles emotionally as well as financially.

When the case comes to Court Charles is not only faced with convincing the Jury of his client’s innocence, but also has to battle the prejudices of his legal colleagues who are still convinced he had a hand in the death of his wife.

Simon Michael has written a terrific story that could only be based in 1960’s London. Charles Holborne is from a Jewish Family and had to change his name so that the prejudice legal profession would take him seriously.

The crime in the story is simple and would have been so much more convoluted in the modern day.

Police “tactics” in the 60’s and 70’s lend themselves to this type of story.

Probably the most telling of all, is the code of conduct between the criminal fraternity which makes this era, the only time this story could have been set in.

I have given testimony in many Court Cases, mainly as an expert witness, so I have experience of watching a case unwind. I have also been privy to some of the pre case meetings, and sat in whilst legal team have argued amongst themselves about the best way to advance a case.

Simon Michael tells the most realistic story from within the Courtroom that I have ever read. This book had me transported back into the Court.

Best of all. I didn’t see the end coming.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series, because there must be one, this one finishes on a “oh good god” cliff hanger.

My Review of the first in the series, The Brief is found at the link below

https://nigeladamsbookworm.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/the-brief-simon-michael/

 

The Brief Simon Michael

The Brief   Simon Michael

To use a sporting term this is a book of two halves, and both of them are really good.

The first half of the book is set in 1960 introduces the reader to the main protagonist Charles Holborne, a Barrister in a London Chambers. As the only criminal barrister amongst chambers full of corporate law and civil court barristers he is not the most popular person.

In fact Charles is not the most popular person amongst most of the people in his life. His wife is from English gentry and his marriage is on the line as she increasingly turns to her parent’s circle of friends leaving Charles alone at home or working late.

Whilst he’s at work he is constantly fighting the closure of the criminal work and hence his removal from chambers. Simon Michael, paints a great picture of a law chambers in the early 1960’s and the people that work in it, with Holborne having few friends and many enemies.

Charles is from a strong Jewish family and has changed his name to help him get along in a largely anti-Semitic profession. However it was marrying his wife Henrietta that was the final straw and his family have disowned him since the wedding.

The first half of the book sees’ Holborne representing one of two armed robbers tried with job in London, and is a good story in itself, but is no more than a prelude for the action in the second half.

The second half of the book is set in 1962.

Two years later and Charles and his wife are drifting further apart and the other barristers in Chambers are increasing their attempts to drive him out.

With his life in general reaching a tipping point Holborne becomes the suspect in a vicious crime. One of the characters introduced in the first half of the book is Detective Inspector Ronal Henry Wheatly. Wheatly is not crooked but he does like to make the evidence fit the person he is after. He is known to get results, even if he has the wrong person.

When Holborne realises Wheatly considers him a suspect he knows he has to take matters into his own hands, go on the run, and try to solve the crime himself.

The story sits nicely in the sixties allowing Simon Michael to weave a tale that wouldn’t sit correctly in the modern day.

It seems right that the world in which he works is full of anti-Semitic upper class snobs; its right that his wife’s family look down on him; we except that policing was “different” in those days. It wouldn’t have been right to set in in this day and age.

Michael has written a tale that is easily believable and very enjoyable. I hope this is the first of many, hopefully in the same era.

A great book I would recommend to anybody who enjoys a good legal who-done-it.

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