Three books that had Janet Gordon, our book reviewer, gripped

Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors

Unless you’ve been living in a cellar for the past few weeks, you can’t have failed to have heard all the hype about Meghan and Harry and Tom Bower’s book, Revenge.

Billed as Britain’s ‘top investigative author’, Tom Bower has dug out so much information hitherto unknown that makes for riveting reading, and I simply couldn’t stop reading this.

Here I’ll hold my hands up and say I am definitely not in the Sussex Camp. Harry seems to be getting more and more unhappy,  and whilst it’s obvious that he was looking for a “mummy” figure to marry and have children with, now he’s achieved that aim, I really don’t think he envisaged a life away from the UK completely out, rather than the half in/half out accommodation he wanted.

And as for Meghan, it feels as if she has made simply no effort to accommodate any of our wonderful British traditions or even to respect the Queen in her Platinum Jubilee Year.  It’s also unnerving the way in which she’s always clinging onto him as if, if she’s not touching him every second, he’ll forget she exists!

So while I’m sure you’ve all read snippets in the papers re the intriguing items that Bower has unearthed, there is just so much more to read and ponder over.  I devoured this in one sitting.

Unlawful Killings by Her Honour Wendy Joseph QC (Doubleday)

Life, Love and Murder: Trials at the Old Bailey

I suppose after years of watching Judge Judy, it’s second nature to call Her Honour Wendy Joseph Judge Wendy, but my goodness, what an absolute powerhouse this lady is.

Cast your mind back to the well-publicised case of the fixed-wheel cyclist who was charged with furious riding after cannoning into a pedestrian, as she was crossing the road in the City of London. Weaving his way in and out of the stopped traffic, he yelled at the pedestrian to “get out of the “F***** way”.  She froze, and he rode straight into her.  I hadn’t realised that it was Judge Wendy who presided. Her summoning up was an absolute masterpiece.

Judge Wendy writes with such authority and has such a way with words – take this from a scene where a school class pays a visit to the Old Bailey.  Judge Wendy has given them all names appropriate to their hair or clothing and is busy assigning them courtroom roles.  As she’s sitting quietly waiting for the class to enter her courtroom, she hears two voices  (Shane and one other). As they’re walking inside, Shane says “this is a F****** waste of time”.  The teacher responds, “You are entitled to your views, Shane, but you will express them without the adjectival intensifier”.

Judge Wendy is impressed  She had no idea that f****** was an adjectival intensifier.  

Her whole novel? Biography? Reminisces? I really don’t know what to call it – all I do know is that is the most fascinating legal read from one of the finest Judges ever to sit in the Old Bailey.   

I have a legal background and once appeared at the Old Bailey (Requesting something really simple in front of the Judge, I hasten to add), and I was scared stiff.  I hope to interview this marvellous lady later in the year, and I don’t know whether to be thrilled or terrified.

Even if you have only the remotest interest in our judiciary system, this book is a must-read.  It’s totally engrossing.

The New House by Tess Stimson (Avon)

Tess Stimson, who now lives in the US, has been one of my favourite authors ever since I first read The Adultery Club, which was published in 2007 and Hard News in 1993.

And oh my goodness, her latest is unbelievably tense and compulsive.

Take three couples and one trendy architect-designed, desirable house that couple number two, Millie and Tom covet.  Millie is a high-flying cardiothoracic surgeon, whilst Tom is a highly paid IT geek.

In turn, their house is coveted by Harper and Kyle, who need a new house in the right school district to keep up with their nearly two million Insta followers who follow them under Kyperlife.

Whilst Stacy and Felix, owners of the desirable house known locally as The Glass House, have decided to downsize.  Stacy is a presenter of a daytime magazine show (my mind immediately went to a  Ruth Langsford type  – why I don’t know?) whilst Felix is a Director of a Hedge Fund.  Both of them live the lifestyle that all the other couples want.

Told in chapters by each of the participants as well as an unknown (to us) psychopath, The New House is so unbearably tense, heart-stopping, mind-blowing and gripping, and you just have to read on and on. I simply couldn’t put it down, and right up to the very last page, there are twists you just won’t have foreseen or imagined.

Tess Stimson just gets better and better.

For more book reviews by Janet Gordon, click HERE.