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Wig Begone

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Wig Begone


Chatles Courtley


This amusing account of the early career of a barrister in London and later as a military judge has much to recommend it. Lively anecdotes depicting the intricacies and absurdities of court procedure, of pompous judges, bent coppers and cunning criminals recall Charles Dickens. But Charles Courtley is no Charles Dickens – he is but the pseudonymous author of this collection.

This book will especially appeal to readers ‘of a certain age,’ those who, for example, enjoyed John Mortimer’s ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’ series. It tends to look back wryly to ‘the good old days’ before PC invaded our lives, when a man could be, for instance, sentenced to eight years for assaulting his wife and the death penalty hovered over the heads of murderers. Courtley can occasionally be pompous: ‘My client had articulated his concern eloquently,’ and is not shy of tired expressions like ‘on a regular basis.’ However, apart from the occasional solecism – ‘absolutely unique,’ for example - the grammar, spelling and typography are irreproachable.

I assumed the names, of defendants, solicitors, judges, QCs etc were also pseudonymous. If not there would seem to be scope here for libel action. Also, is drinking virtually round-the-clock an occupational requirement? If so, no wonder solicitors need charge us £400 per hour.

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