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Thrillers of any Kind > Courtroom Drama Discussion

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message 1: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
One of my favorite courtroom mysteries - not exactly thrillers - are the Horace Rumpole stories by John Clifford Mortimer. Rumpole always succeeds and the various barristers of Equity court are wonderful characters - not to mention Horace's wife "She who must be obeyed".


message 2: by Chris (new)

Chris C I also enjoy a good courtroom drama, one of my favourite is Dexter Dias more of a courtroom thriller writer. Then I thoroughly enjoyed the series by Caro Fraser who follows the private lives alongside the courtroom drama.


message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris C I have managed to get hold of The Case of the Howling Dod by Erle Stanley Gardner. My very first Perry Mason, I am amazed at how many books he has written, yet I have never read one!!!


message 4: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Donna wrote: "One of my favorite courtroom mysteries - not exactly thrillers - are the Horace Rumpole stories by John Clifford Mortimer. Rumpole always succeeds and the various barristers of Equit..."

I've got a Rumpole book coming up on TBR! I can't wait. I loved the TV series too (can't remember the name of the actor who played Rumpole).



message 5: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Leo McKern played Rumpole and I think either his daughter or maybe John Mortimer's daughter became and actress and appeared in some of the later Rumpoles.


message 6: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Chris wrote: "I have managed to get hold of The Case of the Howling Dod by Erle Stanley Gardner. My very first Perry Mason, I am amazed at how many books he has written, yet I have never read one!!!"

I absolutely love these books! My grandmother had shelves and shelves of these and Agatha Christie's and I spent my summers reading them. They are a bit formulaic, but incredibly entertaining. (to me!)




message 7: by Chris (new)

Chris C Kandice wrote: "Chris wrote: "I have managed to get hold of The Case of the Howling Dod by Erle Stanley Gardner. My very first Perry Mason, I am amazed at how many books he has written, yet I have never read one!!..."

I am putting it to the top of my TBR. Through this group I have read my first Agatha Christie, and next up will be my first Erle Stanley Gardner.


message 8: by Kandice (new)

Kandice They are super quick and easy, so you could probably breeze through in a day or so.


message 9: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Donna wrote: "Leo McKern played Rumpole and I think either his daughter or maybe John Mortimer's daughter became and actress and appeared in some of the later Rumpoles."

That's it!! Thanks



message 10: by Ananth (new)

Ananth Subramanian Kandice wrote: "Chris wrote: "I have managed to get hold of The Case of the Howling Dod by Erle Stanley Gardner. My very first Perry Mason, I am amazed at how many books he has written, yet I have never read one!!..."

It is never late.I thought people have stopped reading Stanley Gardner and consider them old fashioned.I finished all his books 35 years ago during my college days.I still vividly remember the characters, Apart from Perry Mason and his secretary Della Street, there are other lovable characters like Paul Drake the private detective, Lt.Tragg and Seargent Holcomb the police officers.
Once you start I wont be surprised if you go through the whole lot of his books.These are pleasnat and light crime thrillers and the court scenes are quite dramatic.Type of books one likes to go through in one sitting.
Happy reading.


message 11: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Ananth, I am so glad to see another enthusiastic reader of Gardner! You're right about people conisdering him old fashioned, but I think his books are so comfortable, and yes, as early as 9 or 10 years old, I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning to finish that final courtroom scene! His books may not be 007 action packed, but they certainly pull you along for the ride.


message 12: by Chris (new)

Chris C Kandice wrote: "Ananth, I am so glad to see another enthusiastic reader of Gardner! You're right about people conisdering him old fashioned, but I think his books are so comfortable, and yes, as early as 9 or 10 y..."

Yes I am finding it a little old fashioned,though enjoying it so far, I am only on page 45 as I keep getting interrupted! Am now ready to settle for at least an hour of reading.


message 13: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa (vanessamc) Has anyone read the procedurals books by Kate Wilheim? I've read some of her stand-alone mysteries, but the court procedurals are the ones that are most represented in the library. Thinking of giving her a try.


message 14: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 71 comments Vanessa wrote: "Has anyone read the procedurals books by Kate Wilheim? I've read some of her stand-alone mysteries, but the court procedurals are the ones that are most represented in the library. ..."

Vanessa -- did you ever try Kate Wilhelm? I really liked them, although I've been taking a break after about 6 or 7 of them. I'm a no-longer-practicing lawyer and I'm find the series believable enough.

Also, you might try Rose Connors. She was a law school classmate of mine and has a great series about a former female prosecutor in Cape Cod. Since Rose was a prosecutor and trial attorney in Cape Cod, they are very accurate in the legal details, yet also compelling and well-written.


message 15: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 444 comments Oh you people have gone and done it now. I'm just reading this year-old thread and realize that I've never read Erle Stanley Gardner -- and I lvoed Perry Mason and love courtroom dramas. Here we go, TBR be damned!

Ananth wrote: "It is never late.I thought people have stopped reading Stanley Gardner and consider them old fashioned.I finished all his books 35 years ago during my college days.I still vividly remember the characters, Apart from Perry Mason and his secretary Della Street, there are other lovable characters like Paul Drake the private detective, Lt.Tragg and Seargent Holcomb the police officers. ..."


message 16: by William (new)

William Topek (william_topek) | 4 comments I was very impressed with Scott Turrow's "Presumed Innocent". The writing was so smooth I literally felt like I was living the book instead of reading it. Oddly enough, I wasn't nearly so impressed with the writing (or story) of his follow up novel (can't recall the title).


message 17: by Alisa (new)

Alisa | 14 comments Grisham's A Time to Kill, and Bugliosi's And the Sea Will Tell, hands down.


message 18: by Brian (new)

Brian January (brianjanuary) | 40 comments Perry Mason is a classic! the stories are obviously dated, but Perry's courtroom tactics really hold up!


message 19: by Tmd (new)

Tmd | 6 comments I'm so glad I got online today! all this enthusiasm about Perry Mason. I grew up with the TV series and now I'm excited to try the books, thanks to all of you.

May I recommend J.F. Freedman's "Against the Wind"? Read it years ago and just remember not being able to put it down and this when my kids were young!


message 20: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown I get misty eyed at the prospect of Rumploe. ITV in the UK do the odd repeat now and again, so I've been lucky to catch some good comedy/drama. Plus, leo McKern was excellent in 'The Prisoner.'


message 21: by Charles (new)

Charles Beddingfield (charlesbeddingfield) | 40 comments There is also a great radio series of Rumpole on BBC radio 4 or Radio 4 Extra, with Timothy West as the elder Rumpole and (I think) Benedict Cumberbach as the young Rumpole. The interplay between the two is very commical. Things like, "The judge is a silly old fool," was what I did not say... Well worth the listen if you have the time. This has reminded me to add my Penguin paperback of Rumpole of the Bailey to my Goodreads shelf.


message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim Crocker | 176 comments R.M.F wrote: "I get misty eyed at the prospect of Rumploe. ITV in the UK do the odd repeat now and again, so I've been lucky to catch some good comedy/drama. Plus, leo McKern was excellent in 'The Prisoner.'"

Old Rumpole and his wife were amazing. "She who must be obeyed!" I just laugh myself silly. I saw the entire series, one episode a week I think.

It's astounding that Cumberbach was on the radio show. What? Was he, like, ten or something? Then look at his role as Frankenstein's monster on BBC.

https://www.google.com/search?q=frank...


message 23: by Charles (new)

Charles Beddingfield (charlesbeddingfield) | 40 comments Jim wrote: "R.M.F wrote: "I get misty eyed at the prospect of Rumploe. ITV in the UK do the odd repeat now and again, so I've been lucky to catch some good comedy/drama. Plus, leo McKern was excellent in 'The ..."

Hello Jim. I fancy the radio series with Tim West and Benedict Cumberbach is a much more recent production than the TV version with Leo McKern. And that's if I'm right about it being Cumberbach at all. If only I had the time to furtle through the beeb's website to check it out...


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

My favorite courtroom dramas/thrillers:

The Verdict by Barry Reed
The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe Word of Honor by Nelson DeMille The Visionary by Don Passman A Time to Kill by John Grisham The Firm by John Grisham The Runaway Jury by John Grisham The Testament by John Grisham The Last Juror by John Grisham The Confession by John Grisham House Rules by Jodi Picoult


message 25: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (shannondisbell) | 252 comments Here is some of mine
The Client by John Grisham The Firm by John Grisham The Runaway Jury by John Grisham A Time to Kill by John Grisham To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The Appeal by John Grisham


message 26: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett | 7 comments These are some I like:

Perry Mason Eight Famous Cases by Erle Stanley Gardner Presumed Innocent (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #1) by Scott Turow Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The Past Never Ends by Jackson Burnett


message 27: by Chris (new)

Chris Hill | 3 comments The early Dismas Hardy books by John Lescroart. Especially the 13th Juror


message 28: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Burnett | 7 comments The finalists for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction were selected this week. They are Defending Jacob, Havana Requiem: A Legal Thriller, and The Wrong Man. My novel, The Past Never Ends, didn't make the cut.


message 29: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer P (jenniferp137) | 3 comments Looking for authors similar to Grisham and Baldacci. Any recommendations?


message 30: by Poornima (new)

Poornima | 57 comments @Jennifer, you could try Steve Martini.. good legal thrillers and courtroom drama.
another author is william dielh..


message 31: by Georgia (new)

Georgia | 537 comments How about Philip Margolin or Carlos Ciscernos???????????


message 32: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown Jim wrote: "R.M.F wrote: "I get misty eyed at the prospect of Rumploe. ITV in the UK do the odd repeat now and again, so I've been lucky to catch some good comedy/drama. Plus, leo McKern was excellent in 'The ..."

Some of these modern actors can't hold a candle up to the greats of yesteryear.


message 33: by Feliks (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Some of them? Most --or all-- of them. American hacks particularly, nothing to bring to the table in this era. They grew up playing with computers.


message 34: by Zarnain (new)

Zarnain Khan | 4 comments Definitely A Time to Kill...all time favorite.....I enjoy perry mason books as well


message 35: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown Feliks wrote: "Some of them? Most --or all-- of them. American hacks particularly, nothing to bring to the table in this era. They grew up playing with computers."

Kevin Spacey bucks the trend IMO


message 36: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer P (jenniferp137) | 3 comments Poornima wrote: "@Jennifer, you could try Steve Martini.. good legal thrillers and courtroom drama.
another author is william dielh.."


Thank you @poornima, I will check both of them out.


message 37: by Eduardo (last edited Jul 08, 2013 10:40AM) (new)

Eduardo Casas (edcasas) | 13 comments The prosecuting assistant district attorney for Dade count’s 11th district, Jonathan Kendrick’s opening statement was at first as intended, factual and accusatory, focusing on his goal, which was not proving the truth, but rather convicting the accused and winning the case. He would ignore any thread of evidence that would exonerate the defendant; that was not his job and after all the burden of proof was on him. The other… the rest ... the defense –was the job of his adversary, the defense attorney, and not his concern. The prosecutors case soon turned into a flurry of unsubstantiated allegations, alluding to charges not in the indictment and statements he was not going to be able to prove. A trial was a contest; to him and many others, it was a war. Some say that this adversarial system of ours is what ensures justice; while others believe it is the cause of some of this country’s greatest injustice. Over the years laws have been enacted to attempt to level the playing field, they however have continued to be abused and subverted by the clever and the cunning on either side of lady justices scales. One thing is for sure; he with the biggest, and usually the most expensive legal guns has the best chance of winning, regardless of guilt or innocence. Case-in-point: O. J. Simpson. The motivation for winning is also a determining factor and often the ulterior motive that drives the adversaries. This assistant district attorney had his eyes set on the office of district attorney, and beyond that lay the road to senator or even greater . This high exposure dramatic trial had all the elements that would propel his career; ensuring the achievement of his overly ambitious designs. He had plans to accomplish this by ensuring that every disparaging, denigrating remark he made about Stephen’s life was preceded by the most damaging pejorative adjective he could manage to articulate. With this firmly and prominently in mind, the vilification of Stephen Gardner had begun.

Jury selection had taken place. Fortunately for Stephen, his lawyer Miguel Cabrera was a wise and seasoned criminal defense attorney, not the most expensive but certainly, one of the most qualified and competent, still hungry and un jaded, a rising star and a lawyer that left nothing to chance. From the 11th circuit court, he had drawn judge Jimenez, a reasonable high-level magistrate, and fair adjudicator, with no record of district court of appeals reversals. He had originally drawn judge McAllister, known as the “Florida judge Roy Bean” ... “The hanging judge.” However, he was ready with his preemptory challenge and managed to get the judge to recuse himself. That was a good start.

Cabrera had none of the bureaucratic apathy and carelessness in preparing his case that can be found in the substandard performance of some court appointed bargain basement public defender’s attitude; an attitude found in those graduating at the bottom of their class, those working on a public servants salary. The type whose careers were distinctively marked by making deals i.e. settling cases rather than winning them. Deals, which were basically structured to sell their client’s lives down the river ... for the sake of expediency. Their main concern being, processing volume through the pipeline, and quickly clearing the court docket … as this was the principal standard upon which they were judged, paid, and secured their position.

Cabrera had engaged a Dr. Phil type psychologist to ensure that the jury was comprised of the most sympathetic jurors that he could impanel. He knew that the original Dr. Phil had played an important role in Oprah’s defense against the Beef industry so he applied the same wise practice in this trial. Cabrera had filed his motions to dismiss and exclude the admissibility of damaging prejudicial testimony and prejudicial jurors. He had submitted his list and examined the witness lists submitted by the prosecution. He analyzed the police reports, accumulated evidence, and all documents that would aid his cause. He was ready for this contest … the adversarial engagement ... the war, that this trial was to be. With the prize being the life of his client, and the fame and fortune that would follow.

Ed and Manny had been working closely with him all along, going over police records and re-interviewing witnesses from the defenses perspective, which they hoped would shed a more favorable light on Stephen’s case.

On Friday in courtroom number two of the hall of justice in Miami at 9:00 AM sharp, after questioning and examining the jurors sworn, requesting subpoenas, performing discovery and recording affidavits as well as
having all pretrial proceedings completed, motions filed, warrants challenged, and having argued against inadmissible, prejudicial, pejorative testimony and other unreliable evidence ... He was as ready as any lawyer could be for the upcoming challenge.

The trial then began in earnest, the presiding judge entered the chamber, rapped his gavel, admonishing the crowd in the gallery to silence, nodding to the court reporter to prepare herself, while the bailiff remained at his post silent and stoic. The ADA rose slowly from his table on the prosecutor’s side of the courtroom, and then very theatrically proceeded to clear his throat, he then took a sip from his water glass, pausing intermittently-- all for dramatic effect; building anticipation on the part of the jurors. He approached the jury bench slowly and deliberately while holding his hands steepled under his chin. He then suddenly, and with a dramatic motion, extended his hands. Then, while holding the index finger of his right hand in front of the jury, began by saying: “The prosecution will prove one thing beyond a reasonable doubt, and that one thing is that Stephen Gardner murdered Rosa Maria. He also abducted and murdered his aunt and uncle for one reason … one motive … and that motive was one of the oldest of sins –the second cardinal sin, the sin of greed. We will prove that he had motive, opportunity, and means to commit these bloody murders. We have direct proof supporting the murder of Rosa Maria, the Gardners’ loyal nanny, and more than sufficient circumstantial evidence to prove that the Gardners’ disappearance and most likely their death was carried out at the hands of a remorseless cold-blooded killer. A killer who had but one thing in mind when he committed these heinous crimes and that was inheriting the great wealth that would be left by the passing of the Gardners. We will prove that it was an inebriated envious Stephen Gardner, who through premeditated planning turned the Gardners’ home into a slaughterhouse. We will show evidential and gruesome photos of his act ... Rosa’s body, their auto, and their driveway soaked in blood. His DNA was at the scene, he had been at the estate the prior day… left and returned that evening to complete his deed. He carried the bodies in the car and dumped them like garbage in the canal next to Alligator Alley. We will show how he had no need to barge in, but rather was invited in when he committed the crimes, a treacherous vindictive act that ignored the love and affection his uncle and aunt had shown to him over the years … his was a violent act of betrayal. By his own admission, he knew the Gardners were changing their will in favor of their orphaned and only granddaughter, Lizzie. Naming her sole beneficiary, he knew that he would not receive a dime.
His army survival Spyderco military knife and his hatchet identified as his personal property was found at the scene with his fingerprints. Although only partial fingerprints could be lifted off the 38-colt revolver owned by Mr. Gardner, Stephen knew where he kept it and had unimpeded access to it. We will prove that this is the gun that was used to kill Rosa execution style. We will prove that he either shot or turned the knife on the Gardners before or after killing Rosa. She was only collateral damage and the only witness to his crime; therefore, he had to eliminate her. We will ask you to bring in the only verdict that is possible given the evidence and the monstrousness of the crime, and that is the verdict of guilty, guilty of first degree multiple murders with special circumstance , carrying with it a sentence of death.Defense attorney Miguel Cabrera began his opening statement by immediately discrediting the foundation of the opposing counsel’s statements ... without any of the assistant district attorney’s theatrics.

Miguel Cabrera: The assistant district attorney (ADA) is telling you he has direct physical evidence and sufficient circumstantial evidence that my client Stephen Gardner murdered his closest relatives and the nanny, which for all practical purposes had raised him, along with his cousin ... since childhood. I am here to tell you straight-out that he has no such evidence.
He can’t place my client at the scene during the time frame they vanished. He fails to tell you that the partial print identifies but two matching points ---not even close in helping identify any suspect under any circumstances, let alone serve as legal evidence, since at least a minimum of 4 points are required – while generally courts accept-or require 12 points as admissible for legal identification. And of course, DNA, fingerprints, hair follicles and all forms of his physical composition could appear in the home, or near by, since he had been visiting their home and actually lived and slept there on numerous occasions since he was a child. As to the gun, it has been well established that the location of the gun was known to many acquaintances of Gerard Gardner, as for the changing of the will after Lizzie Gardner was located, Stephen, as well as all other members of the family were aware and knew it was to occur. The prosecutor leaves out one critical point, and that is that Stephen was not being left out; he was being given the same amount as in the original will, before the death of their daughter. The only difference was that due to ancient requirements set forth in a historical document, the Las Palmas property could only be left to one heir. The will clearly defined the hierarchy. The closest living kin would receive the property, and that would be Lizzie. Stephen was quite pleased with that, as Lizzie would always have a home.

“Objection, argumentative,” was shouted out by the ADA, which was quickly answered with “overruled” by the judge, he adding that Mr. Cabrera in his opening statement had as much right to present his version of the events, as had the prosecutor. He then also admonished the prosecutor for “Attempting to prosecute the defendant for crimes he was not even being charged with i.e. the disappearance and unproven murder of the Gardners.”

There is no connection of this knife or the hatchet found in the shed to the murder of Rosa Maria. Ladies and gentlemen there is in fact no” direct physical evidence” and no convincing “sufficient reliable or relevant circumstantial evidence” to prove that Stephen Gardner had anything whatsoever to do with this crime. The state hasn’t even begun to investigate other possibilities, principally who was the father of Rosa Marie’s unborn child, and could he have something to do with her death?

Members of the jury, you have sworn an oath that you must presume him innocent. It is up to the prosecution to prove otherwise. It is a moral and a legal imperative that the assumption prior to the trial is one of innocence, otherwise where would this country be ... I’ll tell you where! –Back in the days of the Salem witch trials where a mere accusation meant a presumption of guilt ... that’s where! … Don’t let the prosecutor turn this case into a witch-hunt. Don’t let his political ambition sway you away from your duty.

ADA: Your honor I object!

Judge: Overruled


message 38: by Eduardo (new)

Eduardo Casas (edcasas) | 13 comments Interesting legal drama and issues can be found in THE DEVIL'S FOUNTAIN and THE DEVIL'S AUDITOR


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