Nothing concentrates the mind like a hanging, so they say. This book tells the story of three trials which resulted in the death penalty.

The first is not well-known – Edith Thompson was involved in a tragic lovers’ triangle in 1922. The second is about William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) who broadcast propaganda for the Nazis during the second world war. He became a source of merriment rather than fear but was executed for treason. The legal issue is whether he was bound by the law of treason at all given his status as a US citizen.

The last is that of Timothy Evans, who is probably unknown to many; but his address of 10 Rillington Place and the identity of the main prosecution witness – Reginald Christie – is.

Author: Ronald Bartle

£19.95, Waterside Press

These tales are from a lost time when criminal trials were high drama. It is the judges and counsel who stand out as major celebrities. All the trials are presented as cases of miscarriages of justice. They were not perfect certainly but, personally, I think I would have hanged at least two of them. The stories are well researched and described clearly and well. Written by Ronald Bartle, who was deputy chief stipendiary magistrate for inner London, they are told with a lawyer’s analysis.

Well worth the modest price.

David Pickup is a partner at Pickup and Scott Solicitors