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Published by Michael Joseph 1967

This is now out of print, however, you will find copies of Henry Cecil’s books in book fairs and they are always a joy to read.

On the whole they are renditions of court cases and cover different aspects of law, and its due processes. This one I recently bought at the National Book Fair in Bloomsbury (very near Russell Square) which is run every second Sunday of the month. It is well worth visiting and has often quite an eclectic selection of books for sale – some antiquarian, others just second hand. The Henry Cecil books, can’t be said to be of any value – this one was priced at £5.00 – but they are a superb collection of very good stories, with a legal theme.

Henry Cecil was a judge – who was called to the bar in 1923 and became a judge in 1967 and used his experiences as the basis for many of his books.

This one, bought last month, is the story of a cross-examination. The woman named Anne is accused of adultery and it details the questions and her answers whilst they try to ascertain whether she actually did spend the night with Mr Amberley, or not.

It starts with her being asked the following.

‘Mrs Preston,’ asked Charles Coventry, Q.C., the petitioner’s counsel, as his first question in cross-examination, ‘you say you have never committed adultery with my client’s husband, Mr Amberley. May I ask why not?’

From there the questions are wide ranging, the legal niceties are explained and the position of Mrs Preston’s defence by the end of the book become rather tenuous.

The characters are drawn from their responses and questions – and as always I particularly enjoyed the astute, sometimes acerbic comments of the judge…

The books remind me of John Mortimer’s Rumpole of the Bailey titles, however, I feel the English of Henry Cecil’s books gives them the edge – though I do enjoy Rumpole’s exploits too!

I had a few of Henry Cecil books, and stupidly gave them away to someone who was thinking of ‘going into law’ – and so sadly I don’t have them any more. I may go back to building my collection again.

Non Fiction titles include Brief to Counsel (1958) / Not Such an Ass (1961) / Tipping the Scales (1964) / Know About English Law (1965) / A Matter of Speculation: the Case of Lord Cochrane (1965) / The English Judge (1970) / Just Within the Law (1975) (autobiography)

He wrote around 25 fiction titles – too, of which A Woman Named Anne is (obviously) just one.

There have been various editions of his books, however, I have to admit to enjoying the original books, with their rather lovely dust jackets – a sample of which (taken from the Internet) I have used to illustrate this blog.