The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He’d said he was innocent. She’d believed him.
Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger’s in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson’s life. The price of his rehabilitation – and access to the Bar – is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He’s an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he’s subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It’s a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson’s first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she’s innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.
|I really enjoyed this courtroom drama by John Fairfax.
William Benson, son of a Norfolk fisherman, is a barrister with a different. He has a murder conviction of his own. It should have been an ordinary Saturday evening in November. When twenty-one-year-old William went to the Bricklayers Arms in central London with his then girlfriend, Jessica. She described William as thoughtful and considerate. On that same evening Paul Harbeton had just done his night shift at a hospital and he went to the Bricklayers Arms Paul shoved William at the bar and spoke to William abruptly. William wasn’t happy and he protested verbally back. At the end of the evening William and Jessica left the premises together but Jessica went one way and William went the other. Judge Rigby tells the court that William waited for Paul and struck Paul from behind and killed him. William is sentenced to eleven years and he wouldn’t be free until he is thirty-two. But he swears he innocent. The question is do you believe him?
John Fairfax is the pen name of William Brodrick who practiced as a barrister before becoming a full-time novelist.
Published by Little Brown on 2nd March 2017
THE FIFTH LETTER NICOLA MORIARTY
PAPERBACK £3.99 AMAZON
Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.
Best friends since the first day of school.
Best friends, they liked to say, forever.
But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.
Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.
But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.
Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.
And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?
I bought my own paperback on amazon UK
This is my first book that I have read by Nicola Moriarty. I totally loved every page of The Fifth Letter. I thought the idea was amazing, fresh and different.
Four best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, for ever. Now in their thirties with husbands, children and work.
The four friends decide to go away together. While all the women are away, Joni has an idea to help them reconnect with each other. She actually think that it would be a good idea if each one them was to write down one thing that they want to share and one secret. Each letter will be anonymous none of them will sign their names. One of the four letters will be picked out and read at different places they go and discuss what one of them have written. Tricky to keep your mouth closed while everyone is talking about what you want to share and your locked up secret that is now out in the open up for discussion.
One of the women finds in the fire part of another letter which would have been the fifth letter. One of them must have decided not to have their letter be read out for some reason and have destroyed it and done another letter in its place to share. But which of the four women did that first letter and destroyed it? And why did they change their mind and write another letter? Who is hiding something?
Now I know why this book is named The Fifth Letter. I’m looking forward to Nicola Moriarty’s next novel. I will now be following Nicola Moriarty on Goodreads.