Daughters in Law by Henry Cecil
Created: Tue Mar 23 11:52:28 2010 | Last modified: Tue Mar 23 11:52:28 2010
Retired from the army, Major Claude Buttonstep hates lawyers with a passion as his family have a long history of unsuccessful litigation. Unfortunately for him, his two sons fall in love with Prunella and Jane Coombe, the daughters of a High Court judge who themselves are into the Law - Prunella, a barrister and her sister Jane, a solicitor. Both the sons and the father are extremely unhappy about the whole situation and things reach a crisis when a Mr. Trotter, new to the neighbourhood, borrows the major's motor mower and refuses to return it in spite of repeated demands. And so the major is drawn unwillingly into an unexpected litigation.
This is a typical Henry Cecil story. It takes its own pace to build up to the crisis, but from then on, the story moves at a rapid pace. Cecil's peculiar writing style will be evident to readers unacquainted with his other work as he goes about laying the groundwork and setting the scene meticulously for the story before actually plunging into it. Unlike some other authors, he leaves very little to the reader's imagination. Perhaps his technical-legal training has something to do with this.
Unlike some other Henry Cecil stories involving the Law, this story is fairly light-weight and fluffy. As usual, Henry Cecil has a few laughs at the legal profession, but at the same time exposes several wrong perceptions which the common man holds against lawyers. Right at the end, there is a twist in the tale which really highlights Cecil's depth of imagination. The humour is quite steady, but there nothing in this book that will make the reader roll on the floor laughing. The court scenes sparkle as always and this is where Cecil is at his best (and wittiest) as he draws upon his wide experience to bring the whole situation alive to the reader.
All in all, this is quite a good Henry Cecil book to add to your collection. If you're not a Henry Cecil fan, you might take some time to get used to his peculiar style, but still worth reading as a light-hearted novel. I would rate it 3.5 out of 5.