Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Waxwork Corpse (Charles Holborne #5)” as Want to Read:
The Waxwork Corpse (Charles Holborne #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Waxwork Corpse

(Charles Holborne #5)

4.60  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Charles Holborne is back with his strangest case to date! Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Robert Bailey, Michael Connelly and Robert Dugoni.

A deadly crime has been dragged to the surface

London, 1965

Charles Holborne, maverick barrister, will never fit in at the Bar; he is too working-class, too Jewish and too dangerous.

But that makes him the perfect outsider to
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published December 23rd 2019 by Sapere Books

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Waxwork Corpse, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Waxwork Corpse

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  90 ratings  ·  34 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Waxwork Corpse (Charles Holborne #5)
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Revisiting Charles Holborne, this time he is an established lawyer. Having seen off plenty of enemies already, Holborne is set to create a landmark case against an accused judge. Although at the same time, it seems as if Holbornes past is finally catching up with him. Holborne is forced to juggle the courtroom and his own personal dramas in this interesting thriller.

I enjoyed parts of this novel but it didnt fully grip me. Initially, I felt weighed down by the heavy legal elements of the story
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Waxwork Corpse is the fifth book in the Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers series and is a noir, gangster-esque novel set in 1960s London and featuring former criminal and antihero barrister, Mr Charles Holborne. It is preferable, though not essential, to have read the previous instalments before this as the stories are pretty much self-contained, however, if you jump right in here you will not be privy to Charles's evolution and development. Holborne has been called in to prosecute a senior ...more
Cathy Geha
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Waxwork Corpse by Simon Michael
Charles Holborne Legal Thriller #5

1940 war a bit about Charlies life during the air raids that will come back to haunt him in the books is then followed by

1965 a body found in deep water leads to a very intriguing case that will bring Charlie on as Queens Counsel.

Thrown into the mix Charlies family and issues related to his relationship with his parents and the religion he was born into but has pretty much left behind.

So...with threads aplenty and a case
Jennifer (JC-S)
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Money for old rope, he thinks to himself.

London 1965. Charles Holborne may never fit into the establishment at the Bar, but hes certainly been capturing attention. While he usually works for the defence, in this case he is asked to work as part of an investigation that may lead to the prosecution of a well-known public figure for murder.

A body has been found in a lake. While it has clearly been there for some time, it is very well preserved. It is quickly identified as the body of a senior judge
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In a vast reservoir whilst on a dive a tightly wrapped body is found. Whilst a young woman has been missing, it is discovered this is not that woman. The woman whose body is found is someone who went missing thirteen years ago - a wife of a Judge and one who is very eminent now.

Judge Steele is a pillar of the community - three young children, stellar character and there is no one who will talk ill of him. On the other hand, there is no one either personal or professional who will talk well of
Grace J Reviewerlady
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a read; thrilling from beginning to end!

Charles Holborne, barrister, is taunted on a daily basis by his peers for being Jewish, working class and too damn good at his job. When a body is discovered in a lake, the powers that be approach Charles for advice on how to proceed. The corpse has been, unusually, almost perfectly preserved so now begins the process of building a case to hopefully take to court, but Charles' attention is divided by a blast from his past - and not a very welcome one
Jane Willis
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Charles Holbourne, a working class Jew from Londons East End and a former boxer, is a barrister in 1960s London. Unpopular with his peers because he is Not quite one of us and disowned by his family for turning his back on his Jewish heritage, his place as a misfit makes him the ideal person for the security services to turn to when a body is found in Wastwater and turns out to be that of the long-missing wife of a High Court judge.

During the investigation, Holbourne encounters a very unsavoury
Ruth Matheson
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the latest book in the series, we find Charles Holborne being asked to help in a case involving a High Court judge, whose wife had been missing for over 13 years. It is actually based on a true case with certain areas changed however it does make for very good reading and unlike the previous books, barely mentions the Kray twins in this one. We are also given greater insight into the conflict which Charles has with his parents due to his lapse in the Jewish faith. I have found all Simon's ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Set in England of the 1950s-1960s, The Waxwork Corpse by Simon Michael is a slow paced classical legal thriller yet with many unexpected twists.

Personally, I prefer novels set in our very recent times, except for some historical novels, but the ways in which the spirit of the old times is inserted into the story in this book are so smooth that one doesnt need extra documentation or a long time journey. The historical part, which goes as far as the 1940s, during the bombing of London by the
Michelle Ryles
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of Simon Michael's Charles Holborne series and I made sure that I had this fifth instalment on preorder so that it dropped onto my kindle on release day. Although it took me a few weeks to get round to reading it, I can definitely say that it was well worth waiting for.

Simon Michael has taken the Charles Holborne series to the next level with The Waxwork Corpse; not only do we get to see Charles at his lowest ebb but, as it says on the cover, there is a huge twist in this book. I
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Charles Holborne is a barrister in London in the 1960s and is called in on a very sensitive case. The wife of Sir Anthony Steele, one of Englands top judges, disappeared years ago. Her body has now been discovered and Sir Anthony is the prime suspect. Charles must review the evidence, determine if a case can be made, and if so, present the evidence in court for the Crown. It is essential for Charles to be sure of his facts since Sir Anthony is such an important man. While handling the most ...more
Mr Robin Smith
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was my first encounter with the work of author Simon Michael. However, The Waxwork Corpse is apparently the fifth book in a series of his featuring the adventures of the criminal law barrister Charles Holbourne. I thought at first that I would be a bit lost in a plot that would rely heavily on earlier events from the previous books but far from it. The Waxwork Corpse is a thoroughly engaging stand-alone tale set in 1960s London, but with enough of the back story of Charles Horowitzs former ...more
Sonya Alford
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a superb read this was. I absolutely loved 'The Waxwork Corpse'. I havent actually read the full series yet but that didnt spoil things for me in the least and I would say this book can definitely be read as a standalone novel.

I found myself engrossed in the story from the very start. It was really quite easy to get into. By the time I read the prologue I was intrigued. I kept trying to work out where exactly it fitted in with the story. I really do like Simon Michaels style of writing. He
Carole Rae
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was super intrigued by this one. Luckily it works well as a standalone!

The story follows Charles Holborne who is a maverick barrister. He is too working-class and too Jewish for the Bar. This makes him perfect to prosecute a shocking murder case that has made it to the press and the main suspect is a senior judge who was the husband of the missing woman. Along with all of this, a violent mistake made by Charles in the 40s is being unburied. If revealed, could put his own life at stake.

Greville Waterman
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I now actively look forward to the next Charles Holborne legal thriller and this book, the fifth in a burgeoning series, based on an actual murder case, clearly demonstrates why.

Holborne is a maverick barrister who is practising in the early to mid 60s and at a time when London was dominated by the Krays and Richardson gangs and prejudice and snobbery predominated within the legal profession, Holborne is a Jew from a working class background who does not fit in and is not easily accepted by the
Tom Williams
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
'The Waxwork Corpse' calls itself a legal thriller, but it shares many of the attributes of a police procedural. Think Law and Order with the emphasis on the lawyers.

It has a prologue in London during the Blitz, which I felt caught the period better than many thrillers. Most of the book, though, is set in 1965. It is a book firmly embedded in its period so much so that I wondered if it was a reprint, but the copyright assures me that it was written in 2019.

Not only the period, but the legal
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great next instalment in the Charles Holborne legal thriller series- Ive read and enjoyed the first four books so was excited to see this pop up on NetGalley.
In this book Charles is asked to help to investigate and then prosecute someone accused of murdering his wife. However it is all to be kept top secret as the accused is extremely well known.
Meanwhile an incident from Charless past comes back to haunt him and he has to use all his skills to save himself.
The reader also learns more about
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
We follow Charles Holborne in this series of Novels who is a young Jewish barrister in post war London.

We learn a little more about his past at the start of the book which helps gives us some insight into how he became a law abiding citizen after spending his teenage years being a criminal.

As we learn about the victim in the case its clear she was a thoroughly unpleasant woman, and Charles and his partner Jones are left trying to figure out what exactly happened to her, and basically how her
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Charles Holborne - successful barrister but also maverick, Jew and Eastender with dodgy acquaintances, is definitely not one of the establishment, which makes him perfect to assist the police in a prominent investigation. A corpse has been found, almost perfectly preserved and the prime suspect is a senior establishment figure. Anxious to avoid any hint of a cover up the police realise that Charles is just the man to help them and gives him the biggest case of his career.

As well as the problems
Michael Bully
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I rarely read courtroom dramas. This is the first ' Charles Holborne' tale that I have read and want to tackle the rest of the series. Enjoyed the opening scene at World War 2 then moves forward to 1965. Was impressed by the character of Charlie Holborne, a working class Jew who manages to become a qualified barrister and enter the Temple. Various unresolved conflicts of his own past threaten to bring him down, whilst he leads the prosecution of the establishment judge accused of killing his ...more
Bob Hurley
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I throughly enjoy this, the first Holborne book I have read and the first Simon Michael book I have read. During the book you become as much intrigued with Horowitzs Jewish background as you do in the trial of Steel. Is still, the High Court Judge guilty of Obstruction, Manslaughter or Murder, will Holbourne remain removed from his Jewish faith and background, will he meet father Harry half way or will he appease his mother Millie, and rejoin the faith. Both tales provide a great story line and ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Waxwork Corpse is a well-written, totally engrossing legal thriller with interesting characters. In this book, Charles Holborne, Barrister at Law, acting on this occasion for the prosecution, comes up against a high profile judge accused of murdering his wife. The story-line is excellent. I felt emotions swinging back and forth between sympathy and suspicion, understanding and horror regarding the accused man and the crime he is accused of committing. The twist at the end of the novel was ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is book five in the Charles Holbourne series but the first that I have read. I had no issues with following the storyline, it works perfectly as a stand-alone. And it left me wanting to know more about the lead character and his family.

According to the synopsis there are two situations in this novel that Charles has to deal with. The trial concerning the death of the woman found in Wastwater and a personal threat to him concerning events in his past. These events form the opening chapter
Ted Lay
Simon michaels, anyone who enjoys legal stories, true or fictious will just love Simons tales, apart from the usual words of brilliance from devoted fans who will not hesitate to buy the next tale from this writers pen. The proof reading is excellent, the story line puts Simon in the same league as Grisham and Childs, whats more i would not hesitate to recommend waxwork corpse to my maiden aunt or come to that the previous four books. When i say it took a day and a half to read the book, shows ...more
Rose Weiss
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a good legal mystery.
The body of a woman is discovered during a dice in the bottom of a lake in London. This is the body of the missing wife is a prominent Judge on the highest court of England. This case is given to Charlie Holborne a rising lawyer in the courts.
Besides the legal case , Charlie is also dealing with his own family drama which is a good side story to the main case.
This was a good story and a good legal case.
Di Paterson
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best of the series, so far. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the Charles Holborne novels, and although I did suspect the twist at the end of this one, it in no way detracted from the story. Each book stands as an independent story, and be read outside of the others, but it's been an intriguing journey discovering Charlie's early life and finding out why he is the man he has become, and I'm looking forward to the next in the series. I hope I don't have to wait too long.
Alison Waterfield
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A most intriguing thriller

An absolutely brilliant fifth book in this Charles Holborne series from Simon Michael. Such a thrilling story that is so very well written with exceptional attention to detail. The Waxwork Corpse provides the reader with a plot that most certainly keeps the pages turning. A very satisfying and worthy 5 * read with a rather unexpected ending.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2020
Another really good book in this series! It kept my interest from the first page. It had a bit of a twist at the end. Thanks to Sapere for the early copy. Definitely recommend and look forward to more in this series
Patrick Buckman
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoys the Holborne series of books the multi legal and not so legal content with the twists and turns of the stories made it for me a pleasant escapism to relax into from time to time. Thank you Simon
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read all five of these books now and they were all a good read. Thank you.

Another interesting legal story from Mr.Michael and a pleasure to read, really look forward to no.6, hope it will be soon.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Accident
  • Paternoster (Eden Grey #1)
  • Midwinter Mysteries: A Christmas Crime Anthology
  • Reluctant Consent (Cassie Hardman Book 2)
  • Beyond Reasonable Doubt (Elliot Rook, QC #1)
  • Holy Blood (Eden Grey #2)
  • Revenge (DI Jemima Huxley Thrillers, #1)
  • Crucial Evidence (Cassie Hardman legal thriller Book 1)
  • Barbouze
  • A Pretty Folly (Inspector James Given Investigations Book 2)
  • A Shadowed Livery (Inspector James Given Investigations #1)
  • Sole Survivor (DI Jemima Huxley Thrillers, #2)
  • The Black and the White: The Black Death is raging but are some the victims of murder?
  • A Deadly Dividend
  • Deadly Still: Is a serial killer on the island? (Inspector Torquil McKinnon #6)
  • Divine Justice (Brad Madison #2)
  • Danny and Lampert: The King of Bears
  • Corrupt Justice: A Legal Thriller (Tex Hunter Book 3)
See similar books…
My family came to England in 1492, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, and remained in the East End of London for the next 450 years. London is in my blood and as will be seen from my current series of novels, is an important character in its own right. I practiced as a barrister (trial attorney)for 35+ years, doing all sorts of criminal cases, including murder, which now form the plots of my ...more

Other books in the series

Charles Holborne (5 books)
  • The Brief (Charles Holborne #1)
  • An Honest Man (Charles Holborne #2)
  • The Lighterman (Charles Holborne #3)
  • Corrupted (Charles Holborne #4)

Related Articles

  Dean Koontz has been a long-time master of the suspense, with his bestselling Odd Thomas and Jane Hawk series as well as his many standalone h...
31 likes · 16 comments