I’ve been looking for another good British detective, and, by golly, I found one.
Meet Charles Holborne, originally born as Charles Horowitz. It’s 1960s London, and Holborne is a member of chambers in the Temple. Much to the dismay of his fellow attorneys, he practices criminal law almost exclusively. In that line of work, you meet a lot of villains. And you come to discover that not all villains are hoodlum types. Some of them, in fact, have university degrees. And law degrees.
Holborne was born in the East End of London, the one of a furrier. His family is observant Jewish. He was disowned when he married a non-Jewish girl, Henrietta, the daughter of a viscount he met at Cambridge. He hasn’t seen his family in more than a decade. He still loves his wife, but their marriage is unraveling. She’s having affairs, including with some of Holborne’s colleagues in chambers. He’s been faithful, but he’s concluding a divorce may be in the offing.
And then his wife is found murdered, her throat slit. And Charles has been fitted up as the No. 1 suspect, with enough evidence to be overwhelming.
The Brief by British author Simon Michael is the first of the Charles Holborne mysteries. And it’s a gem. The pages crackle with action, surprises, twists, and turns. Holborne is an attorney who knows the criminal scene so well that he knows exactly what he has to do to achieve justice – this time for himself. He;s also not adverse to using his fists when he has to.
Simon is the author of five novels in the Charles Holborne Legal Thriller Series, of which The Brief is the first. He studied law at Kings College, London University and was called to the Bar in 1978. He worked primarily in the field of criminal law until the late 1990s, when he focused his practice on clinical negligence. He began writing in the 1980s and resumed it when he retired from legal practice.
The Brief is a great read and a fully enjoyable and satisfying mystery. And there are four more ready to read.