3 NOVEMBER 1928, Page 90

In his short preface to the second volume of More

Famous Trials (Hutchinson, 21s.) Lord Birkenhead points out that the public " called for nine editions of the first series of Famous Trials in six months." He has rewarded them. In his second book, as in the first, he has studied the public's taste, and the result is a first-rate series of thrillers that would not be disowned by Edgar Wallace himself. From Marie Antoinette to Landru they stand before us in the dock;men and women of every walk of life, and round each one is woven a short story. A few paragraphs suffice to give us the back- ground to the trial. Then for a few more the scene is shifted to the court, where, still with an eye for his public, the author picks out the high lights of the drama (only occasionally, as in the trial of Charles I., does he discuss at any great length the legal technicalities of the case). Then follows, in fourteen out of twenty trials, an execution, and finally we are told what Lord Birkenhead himself would have done -had he been the presiding judge. And it is 'an interesting -commentary on the continuity of English law that in only two cases (those of Charles I. and Marie Antoinette) does he -disagree with the verdict, and the one English case was of -course political rather than judicial. This is a book which everyone will enjoy reading who can afford the guinea.