HENRY CECIL – A Woman Named Anne.   Michael Joseph, UK, hardcover, 1967. Harper & Row, US, hardcover, 1967. Academy Chicago, US, trade paperback, 2005. House of Stratus, UK, softcover, 2008.

   The whole of this book revolves around a divorce case. Most of the action takes place in court and deals with the questioning of various witnesses in the case or Amberley v. Amberley. The cross examination is mainly directed (by Charles Coventry, Q.C., one of the most brilliant of his calling) at very attractive Mrs. Anne Preston, as he seeks to trap her into admitting that she did commit adultery with the defendant, Michael Amberley.

   Not much or a plot for a mystery novel, you might suppose. But you would be wrong. The dialogue alone is well worth twice the price of admission., and just when, towards the end, you think that the truth  has finally emerged., the author applies another, final, deft twist, and bowls you over.

   Quite the most enjoyable book I’ve read in months.

– Reprinted from The Poison Pen, Volume 3, Number 3 (May-June 1980).