THE CUT THROAT by Simon Michael


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A wry, puckish look at the life of a British barrister, his chambers, the chambers clerk, competition within the Inns of the Court, and a frame-up that fails because the instigator thought a certain barrister carried his robes in a blue bag rather than a red one. Charles Howard, a nonpracticing Jew married to Henrietta, a philandering Wasp and daughter of the former head of chambers, is accused of slitting his wife's throat. He's taken into custody, then flees and takes refuge in Petticoat Lane, where he meets Rachel, a childhood friend, who hides him, thereby thrusting Charles back into the milieu he has tried so hard to disown--the Jewish East End. The two narrow the field of suspects to several of Henrietta's lovers, all of them Charles' chambers' sharers, and, unwittingly, Charles breaks into the murderer's house looking for dues. The murderer, thinking he's been discovered, then tries to kill the barrister, who is saved in the nick by the coppers. A nifty bit of misdirection sets up the story, and--although the pacing is sluggish and the transitions labored--there is a wealth of interesting material here, from the genteel approach to anti-Semitism to the ins and outs of the English legal system. A commendable first effort.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's