Those were the days! A solicitor could set up an office relatively easily and the law was profitable. Law was not regulated in the way professional life is today and lawyers were able to mix business with pleasure in a way that might cause apoplexy within the SRA. Advertising was banned, but there were scale fees to guarantee a good return on conveyancing, and articled clerks were often expected to work for no salary and pay a premium. A legal career could be an extension of one’s social life. Partners got the work in – the clerks and assistants did it. Marketing meant going to parties.

The hero of this novel, set mainly in the 1960s, mixes his career as a lawyer with interests in jazz and women. It is the story of the rise and fall of a charmer, through various scrapes with the profession and his personal adventures. It is a very readable thriller; unusually the different characters write the narrative in turns from their points of view, rather like proofs of evidence. This works well as we see the hero from different perspectives.

Author: Michael Simmons

£7.99, Book Guild Publishing Ltd

I resisted the temptation to research the author and compare his career with the hero of this book. He describes the pleasures and temptations of legal life as a partner many of us may recognise and hope to avoid.  

David Pickup is a partner at Pickup and Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury