Henry Cecil

After a very long absence I recently rediscovered the books of Henry Cecil in our library and wanted to recommend them to any SLAWers who do not know of this gem of a writer, and his wonderfully funny stories about English law. A lawyer and later judge himself Cecil published around thirty books about the humorous trials and many tribulations of lawyers, judges and assorted villains. Written mainly in the fifties and sixties the few I have recently re-read seem little dated and I know that little has changed. My wife started reading “Brothers in Law” which recounts the story of one Roger Thursby, newly admitted to the Bar and thrown into the deep end but, newly called herself ,she found that it was simply too close to home and has moved on to one of the later stories. Some of those familiar with the books may recall that “Brothers in Law” was made into a movie, about 1960 I think. I remember seeing it, far too many years ago, with Ian Carmichael in the lead summoning up all his courage to tell the Bullingham-like judge that his mother was sitting in the jury (if anyone ever across a version on DVD do let me know). There’s a bibliography of the books at http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/henry-cecil/


  1. Actually Nick – did you realize that you’re less than an hour away from the Cecil archives – which have fetched up at McMaster? See http://library.mcmaster.ca/archives/findaids/fonds/c/cecil.htm

  2. I agree with Nick. A chapter in one of the books on a judge’s examination of a particularly slippery debtor seemed to sum up so many of the possibilities in a pointed but amusing way that I passed on a copy to a colleague who is a deputy judge of the Small Claims Court in Ontario, where collection issues are frequent.