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March 24, 2017


Summary Justice – Benson and De Vere (Hardback) £16.99 Amazon

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


From → book review

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