16 November 2014

Review: COUNSEL OF CHOICE, Stuart Littlemore

  • source: my local library
  • #1 title in Omnibus titled THE HARRY CURRY COLLECTION
  • first published by Harper Collins in 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-7322-9786-2
  • 296 pages
Synopsis (publisher)

UGLY. IRASCIBLE. CLEVER. INTOLERANT.
From one of our sharpest legal minds comes a brilliant new character, Harry Curry - scion of the establishment and criminal defender extraordinaire. A class traitor, some say.

When Harry's robust advocacy leads to his suspension for professional misconduct, he teams up reluctantly with Arabella Engineer, an English barrister of Indian descent, struggling for a foothold at the Sydney bar. Together, they wreak havoc in criminal trials involving drug-dealing, terrorism, murder and more. But can their professional relationship survive when personal matters intervene? Is Harry truly fated to live and work alone?

Harry Curry: Counsel of Choice is an insightful - and always engaging- romp through a fascinating segment of society, and an exciting debut by a talented insider. 

My Take

I have known of Stuart Littlemore for many years because of his media and journalistic work, but did not really know that he is QC, nor that he is a crime fiction author.

Harry Curry reminds me a little of Horace Rumpole, and I suppose comparisons like that are inevitable.

COUNSEL OF CHOICE begins when Harry manages to get himself disbarred for appearing to refer to a judge with an obscenity. Although the case against him is eventually dismissed, Harry has to re-apply to be admitted back to the bar and he is not sure he wants to do that. In the meantime he is approached by a female barrister who has admired him from afar and who believes they would make a good team. Harry is well known as a strategist, so he develops court defence strategies for Arabella to follow, and they are generally a successful team.

The five chapters of COUNSEL OF CHOICE seem to me to be fictionalisations of mainly rural cases Littlemore has come across in his working life. This tends to make the book a collection of long short stories rather than a novel, although, as the reader progresses from one story to the next, Harry's past is fleshed out and his relationship with Arabella Engineer, an English barrister of Indian descent, develops.

The settings of the stories give the writing an Australian background and flavour, and also a chance for Littlemore to demonstrate a rather quirky style of humour, imparting some light-heartedness to the narration. The stories indicate clearly the variety of cases an Australian barrister may be required to handle. I found them enjoyable reading.

My rating: 4.4

About the author - see Wikipedia

Stuart Littlemore QC is an Australian barrister and former journalist and television presenter.

He is best known for his time as writer and host of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) Media Watch program, which he conceived and presented from its inception in 1989 to 1997. His broadcasting experience began in the late 1960s when he worked as a television current affairs journalist for the BBC in London, and then the ABC, firstly on This Day Tonight and then on Four Corners.
 In the 1970s and 1980s, he played a television reporter in the film "The Money Movers" and the TV series "The Dismissal"' and made guest appearances in the 1990s on the comedy series, Frontline, playing himself as the host of Media Watch. Following Media Watch, he had a short-running discussion program, Littlemore (2001).
 He published a book about his media experiences entitled The Media and Me in 1996. In 2011 he published his first novel, Harry Curry: Counsel of Choice and in 2012 the second book in the trilogy, "Harry Curry: the Murder Book" appeared

2 comments:

Anne H said...

I had HC Counsel of Choice sitting on a To Be Read pile for far too long. Then I read it, loved it, and got hold of the other two as quickly as possible. I wouldn't judge them as novels, as they really are meant to be a collection of episodes, and if I were rating them I'd be more generous! Number 3, HC Rats and Mice is possibly the best of all and it was so frustrating to discover these are all there is of two delightful people, Harry and Arabella, and their cases.

Margot Kinberg said...

Sounds like an interesting collection of cases, Kerrie. Glad you enjoyed them.

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