Archive for July 10, 2009


Posted: July 10, 2009 in Uncategorized


On our way to stay in Lewes last Saturday we took a diversion and went to the idyllic Sussex village of Alfriston. The purpose of our visit was to see the Clergy House, the first ever National Trust property but we happened to spot a superb bookshop, Much Ado Books, in the village.

We had lunched very well in a local restaurant, Moonrakers, and were in a relaxed mood with the result that Mrs Crime Scraps arrived at the payment point with a huge pile of books. I, of course, was more circumspect and resisted any purchases until I spotted a favourite book I had previously lost somewhere in our various moves.
My original copy of The King’s Depart: The Tragedy of Germany:Versailles and the German Revolution by Richard M. Watt was a paperback and had almost disintegrated therefore I was very grateful to find and buy a hardback copy for only £5.00. This book is a treasure trove of information and quotations about once of the decisive periods in world history, a time of missed opportunities.

The very pleasant and friendly bookshop owners, Cate Olson and Nash Robbins, told us they were from Boston, plied us with lavender shortbread, and gave us a neat hessian bag to carry away our purchases. Great service.
Their website can be visited here.

While we were away last weekend I read Michael Connelly’s blockbuster The Brass Verdict.

Mickey Haller is recovering from the events in The Lincoln Lawyer and his addiction to alcohol and ‘hillbilly heroin’ when an old legal adversary Jerry Vincent is murdered leaving his entire practice to Mickey.
The law firm of Michael Haller and Associates is back in business, and Mickey has an important client, Walter Elliott, chairman of Archway Pictures. Elliott a big player in Hollywood is accused of the double murder of his wife Mitzi and her lover after discovering them in a Malibu beach house.
Did Elliott kill his wife? Who murdered Jerry Vincent and why?

While Mickey’s ex wife Lorna organizes the law practice, her new boyfriend the investigator Dennis Wojciechowski aka Cisco tackles the investigation of the murders, and Mickey prepares to go into court for the first time in more than a year to defend Walter Elliott. The police detective looking into the Jerry Vincent murder is none other than Detective Hieronymus ‘Harry” Bosch, and Mickey and Harry have to cooperate in order for Mickey to stay alive.

There are also sub plots concerning Mickey’s relationship with his daughter Hayley and her mother Maggie, and the possibility of him relapsing into addiction under the stress of the trial.

The basic plot of this novel is very simple and the fact that Michael Connelly stretches it out with so many twists and turns to 567 pages without it seeming that long is a tribute to his talent and the clarity of his writing. He takes the reader through the minutiae of running a criminal defence law practice in Los Angeles, and the preparation and conduct of a trial and I was engrossed. Much of the information was fairly basic stuff to anyone who watches television programs such as Law and Order, but the first person account by Mickey is so clear and direct that you are hooked and involved with him in each stage as he proceeds.
Of course all the faults of the American system of justice are set out, including the problem of poorly paid state expert witnesses opposed by the defence’s $10,000 plus expenses star quality experts.

The Brass Verdict was a very well constructed not too complicated legal thriller and it was an excellent holiday read.