the lighterman Simon Michael

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Charles Holborne. A Barrister that changed his name from Charles Horowitz to improve his chances in the legal profession.

Charles Holborne, the man whose morals and ethics keep him sane.

Those morals and ethics are about to be tested.

In the previous two books in this series Charles Holborne has acted as a defence Barrister in some high profile cases. He has lost his wife, who he was arrested for murdering; he has gone head to head with crooked Police Officers; annoyed the Kray Twins, and been alienated by his peers. He has started relationships and lost his families trust.

In this book, we find out more about Charles. How his family were bombed out of their home during the blitz. How the young Charles ran away from being a refugee in Carmarthen, and returned to his bombed-out home. How he ended up working with family on tugs and barges on the Thames before joining the RAF to become a fighter pilot.

When, in 1964, one of the boat crew is accused of murder Charles is immersed in the working boat world of the Thames again.

The story looks at the gangland culture of London. Examines the bribery and corruption by, and off, Police Officer’s in and around Soho. Delves into the Gay culture of the mid 60’s, and its dangers.

In 1964 Charles is just beginning to attract clients again, but is living under the threat of being on Ronnie Kray’s “list”.

Merlin is accused of Murdering a Waterguard, a 1960’s river Policeman, come Customs Officer, and Charles is manipulated into representing him in Court: But who is Merlin and why has Charles been made to represent him.

The answers, to those question, lie in this marvellously written story. Not only does this book stand alone as a good novel, but it complements the two previous books. The reader will learn more about Charles, his youth, his family, and his private life.

I love books which have me reaching for the internet to research things that are mentioned in them. I spent ages looking at the world of the boat workers of the Thames. I found myself reading about the London gang wars of the 1960’s.

I picked this book up and was immediately hooked, 5 hours later I put it down, finished.

I can’t remember the last time I read a book, from front to back, in one sitting.

Pages: 400

Publisher: Urbane Publications

Available on Amazon for the Kindle.

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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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