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Monday, 15 September 2014

‘Breaths of Suspicion’ by Roy Lewis

Published by Robert Hale,
29 March 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-7198-0913-2

Edwin James relates to us the story of his working life in England. He is a Victorian lawyer in the mid Nineteenth century who becomes more and more successful in his professional life and eventually becomes an MP; however, he is followed by doubts about his conduct throughout that time.

He describes his involvement in many notorious cases of the era such as  that of the Rugeley poisoner, William Palmer, and the trial of Dr Bernard for planning the bombing of Emperor Napoleon III.   His successes bring even greater professional and financial advantages but the adversarial nature of the practice of the law means that he gains more enemies too.
Edwin James is constantly prey to breaths of suspicion as the title tells us and the honesty with which reveals his actions, private as well as public,
helps to show why he is seen as less than admirable.  The story he tells involves suspicions about his connections to several deaths - as the events progress the reasons for the suspicions become clear to him as well as to us.

This is a fascinating book as the machinations by and against an immensely able but flawed man are revealed.  Other famous Victorians such as Palmerston and John Sadleir appear, and Edwin acts as election agent in what has been seen as the most corrupt election in mid-Victorian England.
The atmosphere of the 1850s and 1860s in the legal and political world is magnificantly conveyed.
Reviewer: Jennifer Palmer
Other books are: a series about Inspector John Crow (5 books),the modern lawyer Eric Ward (15 books), and antiquarian Arnold Landon (22 books) and various stand alone titles.

Roy Lewis is a well-established crime writer with 60 novels to his name. He lives in the north of England where he sets many of his books. He is a former college principal and Inspector of Schools who now runs business training programmes and has business interests in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. He has three children - all of them lawyers.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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