Courtroom dramas have long been a staple of the crime reading and watching public. I remember as a child, my mum being fascinated by ‘Crown Court’ a series of fictional legal cases presented as hour long plays. Think too of the popular Rumpole of the Bailey , Law and Order and Suits. In literary form, we have been entranced by courtroom stories since ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, with authors like Michael Connelly and John Grisham writing whole series of books which introduce us to the intricacies of the American Legal system.
Cameras were never allowed in real courtrooms, before 2004. In fact, it was illegal to photograph or broadcast the proceedings the cases in a British court from 1925 to June 2020. Maybe the mysterious and hidden nature of legal proceedings, made them more appealing to the minds of the reader because of that.
This month’s third review ’The Measure of Time’ by Gianrico Carofiglio is published by Bitter Lemon Press (www.bitterlemonpress.com) on the 15th March.
Here the reader meets, lawyer Guido Guerrieri, in his sixth outing for the author. One spring afternoon, Lorenza, a former lover of his, shows up in his office. Her son Jacopo stands convicted of the first degree murder of a local drug dealer. For the appeal, Lorenza turns to Guerrieri. But he is not convinced of the boy’s innocence, nor does he have fond memories of how their relationship ended. Nevertheless, he accepts the case and soon becomes embroiled in a fascinating judicial process, tainted by unreliable testimony and hasty and incomplete police work.
This is my first encounter with this author and I am impressed. The translation from Italian to English is impeccable. It’s a sign of a good translation, when you read a third of the book before wondering if it is a translation. So, a thank you too to Howard Curtis. And it’s of course the sign of a good book, when you get caught up in the story so well that you aren’t thinking of the mechanics of the writing. Guido, seems an interesting character. I’d like to read the other books to get more of an insight into his character. Its very apparent he has a great love of Italian food. The description of the dishes make your mouth water! The procedural and legal aspects of the story are clearly explained. No grandstanding or theatrics. Definitely no Judge Judy here.
This Italian author Gianrico Carofiglio’s (@GianricoCarof) 12th book and his sixth featuring Guido Guerrieri. The others include Involuntary Witness (2002), Walk In The Dark (2003), Reasonable Doubts (2006), Temporary Perfections (2010), The Silence Of The Wave (2011), Cocaine (2013), A Fine line (2014) and Three O’Clock In The Morning (2017). Before becoming a full time novelist Carofiglio was a member of the Italian Senate and also an Anti-Mafia prosecutor in the Italian port city of Bari.
This is a satisfying, mature read and will be a great addition to the library of readers who like their legal drama thoughtful and grounded. So with foreign holidays still looking very remote again this year, download a copy or order one on line from your local bookshop and escape to Italy in the company of Guerrieri and Carofiglio.
Reviewed by: Georgina Murphy
This is book review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of the book, visit their blogs listed below. Then, if you get a copy comeback and tell us what you thought, we’d really appreciate the feedback.