Having spent forty years observing crime play out from a ringside seat, I thought it was now or never to enter the arena and try my hand at writing a trilogy of books. The first covers my life as a defence lawyer (entitled No Lawyers in Heaven, published in 2020) and the third is a book of short stories (currently in progress). This is the second – a crime fiction novel. If, having read it, you are kind enough to call it a pacy illegal romp, I would take it as a great compliment.

The characters who appear are all drawn from my personal experiences over the years. True, they are not pure single malts but rather blended personalities from numerous individuals who have suffered the misfortune of crossing my portals. From the main protagonist, Big Jake Davenport, numero uno in the London underworld, to Halfpint, his special operations manager. From the acerbic judge known to all as Mack the Knife, and his problems at home with an adulterous wife, to Bob the Merc, a ruthless loan shark. From the illustrious Patrick ‘The Edge’ Gorman QC, the man to see, to his cerebral and eagle-eyed junior Daniel Jacobsen, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and on to the Italian beauty, Angelina. From Percival the Persecutor, a one-trick pony who always goes right for the jugular, to, finally, the no-nonsense Detective Chief Superintendent Iron-Rod Stokes, who is hell-bent, in his last case before retirement, on achieving a murder conviction against a hapless wronged man.

I have always been fascinated by the seemingly insoluble battle between morality and the law, and so, before picking up my pen, I decided that this conundrum would feature prominently. Innocence and guilt are not stamped in black and white. They are not absolute concepts. Most criminal cases fall into a shadowy expanse, reigned over by ever-darkening skies, stretching between righteousness and downright amorality, and inhabited by the types of characters you will find in this novel. They mingle here in muddy waters (as do their

lookalikes at the Old Bailey), battling it out against each other, mentally and physically, to achieve their own sense of justice.

I hope that readers find my style accessible, engaging and easy to understand, and, if so, while being entertained, that they will also become somewhat the wiser as to what really goes on behind the scenes in a murder case that ends up in Court 1 at the Old Bailey.

To those of you who doubt that the types of characters depicted in my novel exist in real life, I can only say, believe me, they do – I have met them all!

Henry's book, Murder at the Bailey, is out now: get your copy here!