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A former lawyer and celebrated crime writer has compiled this vastly entertaining collection of anecdotes, drawing from the reminiscences of lawyers and criminals, witnesses and clerks. The law has a great hold over the imagination of the public: it is all-powerful, yet its servants can be fallible, and it is the foibles as well as the authority of judges and other legal practitioners that make this collection so enjoyable. Edward Carson cross-examining Oscar Wilde, Clarence Darrow defending J.T. Scopes for teaching the theory of evolution: these are perhaps the best known of many celebrated legal battles retold in these pages. Of a less dramatic nature is the story of the letter received by Judge Benjamin Cardozo: "I read in the newspapers that you are a liberal judge. Will you send me ten dollars as I'm really very hard up." The entries are arranged alphabetically by the name of their principal subject; headnotes set the context and describe the subject's occupation (i.e. "judge," "attorney general"). A useful note explains the differences between the British, European, and American legal systems.
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