The most recommended books about barristers

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to barristers, and here are their favorite barrister books.
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Book cover of A Certain Justice

L.C. Blackwell Author Of Ready Aim MURDER: A Peter Dumas Mystery, Book 2

From my list on mysteries to take you places you’d like to visit.

Who am I?

Puzzles intrigued me since I was a three-year-old. Puzzle pieces that fit into pre-sized spaces. Then, disassembling and reassembling small 3-D animal shapes. Crosswords were next. Finally, Nancy Drew entered my life. I was addicted. Sherlock and Agatha became my mentors. But I loved to paint as well, so art was my first major at Michigan State University. Changed it to advertising in my senior year. Shortly after, Leo Burnett hired me to write print and radio media for Buster Brown shoes. Television was next. I solved many advertising puzzles at Foote, Cone & Belding, but after retiring, mystery re-entered my life when I wrote my first book.

L.C.'s book list on mysteries to take you places you’d like to visit

L.C. Blackwell Why did L.C. love this book?

A murder in the world of law courts in London’s legal community brings in P.D. James’ iconic detective Adam Dalgleish to investigate—a protagonist with razor focus and discernment, and a man famous for his poetry in the literary world.

James has incredible skill marrying the unexpected attributes of detection with the sensitivity and intimacy of a novel. She is a queen in my mystery reading world.

By P. D. James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Certain Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major Channel 5 series

'The Queen of Crime.' New York Times

Venetia Aldridge QC is a distinguished barrister. When she agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, it is one more opportunity to triumph in her distinguished career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead at her desk.

Commander Adam Dalgliesh, called in to investigate, finds motives for murder among the clients Venetia has defended, her professional colleagues, her family - even her lover. As Dalgliesh narrows the field of suspects, a second brutal murder…

Book cover of Rumpole of the Bailey

Cathy Pickens Author Of Triangle True Crime Stories

From my list on for people who think they don’t like true crime.

Who am I?

When I started writing mysteries, beginning with St. Martin’s Malice Award-winning Southern Fried, I wanted to get the medical, investigative, and courtroom details right. What better resource than good first-hand accounts from professionals who do those things every day? I love traditional, play-fair mysteries and the puzzles they present. But I also love writers who get the technical details right while also writing engaging novels I can get lost in. Nothing better than curling up with a good mystery.

Cathy's book list on for people who think they don’t like true crime

Cathy Pickens Why did Cathy love this book?

I first met Rumpole, the Old Bailey Hack, as he called himself, on the PBS Masterpiece series. John Mortimer’s books about the curmudgeonly old barrister are even more delightful. As a former trial attorney, I love how the collections of short stories in his books give me a peek inside the British legal system—and how they present plenty of puzzles to solve, filled with irascible good wit. 

By John Clifford Mortimer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rumpole of the Bailey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of stories featuring Rumpole of the Bailey, including "Rumpole and the Younger Generation", "Rumpole and the Alternative Society", "Rumpole and the Honourable Member", "Rumpole and the Married Lady, "Rumpole and the Learned Friends" and "Rumpole and the Heavy Brigade".

Book cover of Rabette Run

Stephen Bentley Author Of Operation George: A Gripping True Crime Story of an Audacious Undercover Sting

From my list on grounded crime fiction.

Who am I?

I was a cop for fourteen years and a barrister in the UK for another fourteen years appearing in criminal trials. I've seen and heard enough real cops, lawyers, and criminals to last me a lifetime and more. It left an indelible mark on my own writing and reading preferences. I love true crime but also good crime fiction with realistic characters, settings, and plausible storylines. There's a thread that connects me to most of the authors whose books I have recommended. They're either former lawyers with investigative experience or experienced journalists with experience of a crime beat. Chandler is the exception, but I must say he would've probably fitted right into the police forces.

Stephen's book list on grounded crime fiction

Stephen Bentley Why did Stephen love this book?

Not only did this novel remind me of Lewis Carroll's works, but it also reminded me of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour and other works of theirs in their hallucinogenic-inspired songs and albums. Rippington himself is aware of that in his writing as he references both Alice in Wonderland and the phrase 'magical mystery tour.'

So far, I may have misled you because this book is a real thriller. It travels along at the speed of sound and though the things happening to Emerson Rabette are fantastic, they are so believable at the same time. That's difficult to do as a writer but Mr. Rippington manages it with ease and much panache.

By Nick Rippington, Emma Mitchell (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rabette Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What the readers are saying...
★★★★★ The perfect escapist read for our times
‘★★★★★ The sort of book you ‘watch’ while reading... utterly brilliant
★★★★★ If possible, I would have awarded this 10 stars. This book is much more than amazing.
★★★★★ The author, Nick Rippington, himself describes it as "Alice in Wonderland... with guns." Well, he's right and it's not hype.

Graphic designer Emerson Rabette is forced to use the London Underground to get to a meeting with his employers. There's a problem, as he's terrified of the tube. He is no ordinary commuter and this is no ordinary…

Book cover of The Law in 60 Seconds: A Pocket Guide to Your Rights

V. Charles Ward Author Of Fire Safety Law: A Practical Guide for Leaseholders, Building-Owners and Conveyancers

From my list on laws on residential leaseholders' rights in the UK.

Who am I?

I am a UK registered lawyer specializing in real estate and I’m passionate about my work. I am also a non-fiction legal writer. I don’t just write about what I know. I write about what I do. I don’t primarily write for other lawyers. Instead, I try to make the law accessible to anyone who needs to use it: whether they are a leaseholder facing service charge liabilities or someone responsible for the management of a block of flats. Since the 2017 Grenfell fire disaster, I have been following the evolution of new UK fire safety regulations and their practical effect on leaseholders and everyone involved in the management of a high-rise building. 

V.'s book list on laws on residential leaseholders' rights in the UK

V. Charles Ward Why did V. love this book?

This entertaining quick-fire legal reference book provides instant help for any difficult situation. A pocket-sized book to be carried with you at all times. The book comes alive with examples taken from the author’s own life experience. It is about the basic human rights which belong to all of us and what they mean in our lives.

By Christian Weaver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Law in 60 Seconds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An indispensable guide to the law and your rights, giving you a lawyer in your pocket for a multitude of legal questions and problems that crop up in everyday life. ... Exceptional' - The Secret Barrister
'Brilliant and generous and very necessary' - Sarah Langford, author of In Your Defense
'A triumph of a book. It should form the basis for a national curriculum in law.' - Joanna Hardy-Susskind

From junior barrister Christian Weaver comes an indispensable guide to your basic legal rights.

We engage with the law every day: when we leave the house, and even when we don't,…

Book cover of Death at the Priory: Love, Sex, and Murder in Victorian England

Sarah Horowitz Author Of The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind it All

From my list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved reading about women who lived in earlier eras, whether that was through nonfiction or historical fiction. Books gave me access to worlds beyond my own and I loved thinking about what I would do in a particular situation, whether I would have made the same choices as the women I was reading about. I suppose it’s no surprise that I have a Ph.D. in history and teach European history. I love sharing my passion for the past and I hope you love the books I recommended as much as I do!

Sarah's book list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of

Sarah Horowitz Why did Sarah love this book?

I could not put this book down. It’s the riveting tale of Florence Bravo, whose life was one of enormous privilege and horrific violence.

She came from one of the wealthiest families in nineteenth-century Britain, fell in love with a dissolute military officer who abused her, only to have her parents insist that she stay with him. After he died and left her fabulously rich, she married a ne’er-do-well lawyer who was poisoned a few months later.

Ruddick solves the riddle of the murder, all while telling a tragic tale about the very limited options for women in the Victorian era. If you like a mystery, this is a great real-life one!

By James Ruddick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death at the Priory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1875, the beautiful and vivacious widow Florence Ricardo wedded Charles Bravo, a daring barrister. The marriage seemed a happy one, although society gossips whispered that Bravo had married Florence for her fortune. Yet behind this charming public persona, Charles Bravo was a brutal and vindictive man, who dismissed Florence's steadfast companion Mrs Cox, and who regularly subjected his wife to violent abuse. One night, four months after the wedding, Bravo collapsed. For the next 55 hours, with some of London's most distinguished physicians in attendance, Charles suffered a slow and agonizing death. All the doctors agreed: Charles Bravo had…

Book cover of A Practical Guide to Transgender Law

Zoë Playdon Author Of The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes: And the Unwritten History of the Trans Experience

From my list on trans liberation.

Who am I?

Alongside my professional role as Emeritus professor and former head of postgraduate medical and dental education for NHS London and the South East region, I’ve been engaged with LGBTI human rights for thirty years, working with legal teams and advising a range of government departments and stakeholders. I wrote The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes to remind us all that until the late 1960s, trans people self-identified, received affirmative medical care, corrected their birth certificates, and lived in full equality. At a time when discussion of trans lives is almost submerged by entrenched ideological dogma, the historical and scientific facts of trans experience feel particularly important. I hope you enjoy my selection on this theme. 

Zoë's book list on trans liberation

Zoë Playdon Why did Zoë love this book?

From crime to punishment, and this comprehensive guide to the facts of UK trans people’s legal protections (and their absences) is calm and authoritative. At a point when the press and media are filled with smoke and mirrors about trans rights, Robin and Nicola, both practising barristers (‘trial attorneys’ in the US) set out the current rights and responsibilities affecting areas such as education, healthcare, asylum, prisons, media, and sports.

Crucially, they include a chapter asking ‘Are Gender-Critical Views a Protected Belief?’ (they are if you keep them to yourself but aren’t if you express them at work). At the same time, the fact that such a book is needed underlines the grim truth that trans lives are not equal lives, that they aren’t able to rely on the same protections given to cis people, and that they cannot afford the insulated ignorance about the law which the rest of…

By Robin Moira White, Nicola Newbegin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Practical Guide to Transgender Law as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A comprehensive volume filling a notable gap in the legal library.

The book has introductory sections on the facts and language related to trans, and then substantial sections on the relevant parts of the Equality Act 2010 as related to transgender individuals, and the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Specialist sections then follow, dealing with Associations, Asylum, Criminal Justice, Data Protection, Education, Employment, Family, Healthcare, Media, Name and Gender Marker Change; Politics and Parliament, Prison, Services, Sport, Gender-critical views, Example Policies and Reform. Some sections have been written with assistance from recognised experts in their field.



Book cover of The Shortest Way to Hades

Kate Darroch Author Of Death in Paris

From my list on humorous murder mysteries.

Who am I?

Living on Devon's gorgeous coast, I'm melding my lifelong love of reading Cozy Sleuths with my love of writing and years of living in foreign climes to write Travel Cozies. I also have a Vella Heist serial Found Money starting on Vella soon, and a Cozy Spy series They Call Him Gimlet coming out in the Autumn.

Kate's book list on humorous murder mysteries

Kate Darroch Why did Kate love this book?

Narrator Professor Hilary Tamar’s habits and character traits invite non-stop laughter; and yet amazingly the three young barrister characters are every bit as funny in an entirely different way. One of the barristers always carries the action; but Hilary is no Dr. Watson gasping at their brilliance; in every book, her perspicacity and specialist knowledge enable the murder motive to be unravelled and the murderer brought to justice.

These books are rich in comic dialogue, often given as indirect speech. Caudwell’s unique spin on technical legal language will have you laughing out loud. 

The storyline is enchanting. Without Hilary’s specialist knowledge of ancient Greek texts, there might well have been many more murders! And yet so cleverly is this charming novel plotted, that we almost feel her esoteric expertise is only what might be expected of any amateur sleuth worthy of the name.  

By Sarah Caudwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shortest Way to Hades as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone in the family had decided that changing the trust arrangement seemed the perfect way to avoid three million in taxes. However, when dreary cousin Deirdre has a mysterious accident after demanding a fee for her signature, the young London barristers handling the trust seek advice from mentor Hilary Tamar.

Julia believes it's murder; whilst Hilary wonders why the raven-haired heir did not die. But with more deadly accidents occurring, it is Hilary who is given the perilous quest of unmasking the killer.

Book cover of The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It's Broken

V. Charles Ward Author Of Legal Profession: Is It For You?: A No-Nonsense Guide to a Career in the Law

From my list on becoming a lawyer in the UK.

Who am I?

I have been a lawyer for more than 50 years and I love what I do. I also want to share my enthusiasm for what I regard as the world’s most exciting profession, where every day is a little different. I am also a legal writer. But I don’t just write for other lawyers. I want to make the law accessible to everyone. That includes anyone who may be thinking seriously about a legal career but has yet to make the leap.

V.'s book list on becoming a lawyer in the UK

V. Charles Ward Why did V. love this book?

This anonymously written and entertaining book will tell you what your barrister is really thinking, behind the polite smile and measured language, when they are defending you against a criminal charge. An insider’s view of the UK criminal justice system and its failings. Ever wondered why there are so many miscarriages of justice? Not just those which make the headlines. The writer contrasts the professionalism of the crown court trial, with its judge and jury, with the wild west of the magistrates’ court, in which more than 91% of UK criminal prosecutions begin and end.

By The Secret Barrister,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret Barrister as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An anonymous barrister's darkly comic and moving first-hand account of life in the legal system, and how it's failing us all.

The Sunday Times number one bestseller.
Winner of the Books are My Bag Non-Fiction Award.
Shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year.
Shortlisted for Specsavers Non-Fiction Book of the Year.

'Eye-opening, funny and horrifying' - Observer

You may not wish to think about it, but one day you or someone you love will almost certainly appear in a criminal courtroom. You might be a juror, a victim, a witness or - perhaps through no fault of your own -…

Book cover of Forced Confessions

Renita D'Silva Author Of The War Child

From Renita's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Writer Cook Long distance walker Mother

Renita's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Renita D'Silva Why did Renita love this book?

This book is the third in the Benson/DeVere legal crime series. While I’ve loved every book in the series, this one is my favourite.

So brilliantly written, packed with beautiful sentences, and such wisdom! I loved this book, could not put it down. In a packed genre, this series and this book stands out. I have recommended this series and especially this book to everyone. It deals with serious social issues but never comes across as preachy.

You are absolutely absorbed in the story, completely invested in the characters’ lives. Loved, loved, loved this book. 

By John Fairfax,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forced Confessions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

William Benson.
Criminal barrister.
Convicted murderer....

Convicted of murder sixteen years ago, William Benson is ostracised by the establishment and his family. Supported by a close-knit group including solicitor Tess de Vere, he's defied them all and opened his own Chambers. Now he faces the case of his life - and the terminal illness of Helen Camberley who helped him leave his prison life behind

Jorge Menderez, a doctor from Spain, has been found dead in a deserted warehouse in East London. A troubled man, he'd turned to counsellor Karen Lynwood seeking help. Now Karen's husband, John, is accused of…

Book cover of Without Prejudice

Abi Silver Author Of The Pinocchio Brief

From my list on challenging our views that justice prevails.

Who am I?

Having spent my youth watching dramas Crown Court and L.A. Law on TV and reading Rumpole of the Bailey, it’s not surprising I became a lawyer and then went on to write legal thrillers myself. The courtroom is an inherently theatrical place, where emotions and tensions run high. It’s a place where egos collide, theories are propounded and punctured and the liberty (and sometimes the life) of the accused is at stake. It follows, then, that lawyers operate in a totally even-handed system, where they’ll always achieve a fair and just result and uncover the truth. All the books I’ve recommended challenge this notion in different (but equally brilliant) ways.

Abi's book list on challenging our views that justice prevails

Abi Silver Why did Abi love this book?

When Armani-loving lawyer, Leanne Mitchell, is asked to defend millionaire Clive Omartian on fraud charges, she believes her career is on an upward trajectory. But her success puts her at odds with the head of her Chambers, who is desperate to be awarded ‘Silk’ and with her instructing solicitor and old friend, as she begins to suspect he knows more about their client than he is letting on. Before she realises, she’s being dragged into dangerous waters.

Oozing authenticity, twisty and turny, the reader shares Lee’s pain, not just the wounds she suffers from courtroom barbs, but in her everyday experience as a young, black, working-class woman barrister in a mainly white, male, privileged world. Despite huge challenges she remains feisty and principled. A real hero for our times.

By Nicola Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Without Prejudice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Impressive and unique. As relevant today as it was over two decades go' Bernardine Evaristo, from the Introduction

A gripping, propulsive courtroom thriller following barrister Lee Mitchell as she uncovers the dark secrets of London's obscenely rich

Lee Mitchell is a thirty-year-old barrister from a working-class Caribbean background: in the cut-throat environment of the courtroom, everything is stacked against her.

After she takes on the high-profile case of notorious millionaire playboy Clive Omartian - arrested along with his father and stepbrother for eye-wateringly exorbitant fraud - the line between her personal and professional life becomes dangerously blurred.
Spiralling further into…