As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Matador, 28 November 2019. ISBN: 978-1-83859170-0 (PB)
Hong Kong jewellery-king Lester
Chan has been arrested for letters-of-credit fraud, and believes only a top
quality English barrister can get him off. This novel follows the story of the
judge and lawyers involved in his trial.
novel’s a long one – 480 pages – and the first quarter is spent in meeting the
four main protagonists. Frank Grinder, retired solicitor who specialised in
fraud and banking cases, used to work in Hong Kong, and is missing his wife,
Winnie, who’s gone back there to see her parents. Jonathan Savage QC is
surprised to be chosen at short notice, and delighted to be flown out business
class. Graham Truckett, an Australian lawyer, is horrified by the number of
boxes that have suddenly appeared in his office – he’s to prosecute the case.
Judge Brett O’Brian is also Australian, and prides himself on his courtroom
briskness.He’s a vaguely sympathetic
old buffer, and Grinder shakes off the air of total incompetence he showed in
the first chapter, but it’s hard to like the others: Jonathon is too jet-lagged
to even look at the papers for the coming trial, and Graham too permanently
hung-over – luckily he has a very intelligent junior, Lee Sit-Ming, who saves
his bacon by writing an opening speech which explains to him what’s going on.
We meet the defendant, and see how unlikely it is he’ll get off – unless the
choice of solicitors is a deep plot.
before the trial starts, there’s a lengthy explanation (in hard-to-read
italics) of what a letter of credit is, and how it can be used fraudulently;
once the trial is about to start, the author explains that trials can be very
dull, so he’ll give us only an outline of proceedings. The pace quickened
slightly at the trial and moved to the ending without any final twists. It’s obviously
a traditionally mysogonistic world, and I too comfortable with the colonial
feel of the ending of the Graham / Lee Sit-Ming plot. There’s a lot of local
colour with the protagonists journeying around the city, descriptions of
delicious-sounding meals – you might want to keep your local Chinese take-away
number handy as you read - and some humour in the clash of cultures..
leisurely-paced legal novel based on a fraud trial. The author is a QC who has
worked in Hong Kong, so there’s authority in descriptions of place, culture and
details of court procedures.
Martin Wilson QC was, for many years, in practice at the Bar. He
specialised in criminal law, defending and prosecuting in cases of murder,
fraud, corruption and other serious crimes, both in England and Hong Kong. He
always has enjoyed writing for pleasure but, had preferred to avoid the subject
of the Law. However, his latest book, The Trial of Lester Chan lifts the
lid on what it is like be involved in a criminal case from the points of view
of counsel for the defence, counsel for the prosecution and the trial judge. Martin
has three grown-up daughters and he and his wife, Julia, live in the Cotswolds
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh
and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time
teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two
Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by
history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as
a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys
exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.Marsali also does a regular monthly column
for the Mystery People e-zine.