The Aladdin Trial by Abi Silver Eye and Lightning June 28th 2018
When an elderly artist plunges one hundred feet to her death at a London hospital, the police sense foul play. The hospital cleaner, a Syrian refugee, is arrested for her murder after stolen jewellery is found at his home. He protests his innocence, but why has he given the woman the story of Aladdin to read and why does he shake uncontrollably in times of stress?
Judith Burton and Constance Lamb, the legal duo introduced in Abi Silver’s acclaimed debut The Pinocchio Brief, reunite in The Aladdin Trial to defend a man whom the media has already convicted.
In a spellbinding courtroom confrontation in which they once more grapple with all-too possible developments in artificial intelligence (AI), they uncover not only the cleaner’s secrets, but also those of the artist’s family, her lawyer and the hospital.
The Aladdin Trial is the second in the Burton and Lamb series but no prior knowledge is required, as straightaway you get a real feel of who Burton and Lamb are.
Lamb is the duty solicitor called into represent Ahmad and I immediately sensed that she was a solicitor who cared about the people she acted on behalf of. Throughout the novel Ahmad and his family became her priority, and the further she became entangled in their lives the more she found out about their nightmare past in Syria. Her personal life appeared somewhat complicated and I think that saddened her and in contrast to Burton made her slightly more human and approachable
Burton was the no nonsense barrister, she was the steadying influence to Lamb’s more buoyant enthusiastic notions regarding the murder trial. You never knew much about her personal life and maybe that came up in the first book, but I felt it made her appear more driven, focused and quite harsh. It perfectly fitted her persona in front of a judge and jury, her questioning of witnesses direct and hardhitting.
Ahmad, was a complex character, shaped by his experiences in Syria and his fear of reprisals should he not be the perfect employee in his hospital cleaning job. Silver’s portrayal of Ahmad and his family was extremely touching, and their journey to England poignant and heartbreaking. Silver gave the reader a real insight into the hardships faced by refugees in this country, and you could not help but feel huge sorrow for Ahmad and his family.
Silver’s background as a lawyer ensured that the court room scenes were brilliantly accurate, the tension palpable as witnesses were questioned, cross examined and layers of hidden truths slowly peeled back and revealed. I liked that Silver didn’t bog her narrative down with legal jargon, but let the characters tell the story.
Indeed, Mrs Hennessy’s children were instantly dislikeable, totally selfish, and both with secrets that wanted to remain hidden. Their mothers murder seemed almost secondary to their apparent greed and selfishness, and I really did not like them. Add in Mrs Hennessy’s lawyer Brian Bateman and I really did begin to question most of the characters innocence, non of them believable.
Yet Silver didn’t stop there. as the medical professionals who treated Mrs Hennessy were thrown into the mix and I was one very confused reader who had no idea whatsoever who the murderer or murderers could be!!
Silver did a great job in maintaining brilliant tension and suspense throughout and when all was finally revealed it was a real surprise and a great twist.
This is a well written, intelligent and absorbing thriller that is both realistic and thought provoking. I am hoping that the wait will not be long for the the next book featuring Constance Lamb and Judith Burton.
I would like to thank Eye and Lightning for a copy of the book to read and review and to Ellie Beadle for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
ABI SILVER was born in Leeds and is a lawyer by profession. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three sons. Her first novel, The Pinocchio Brief – also a courtroom drama with an AI twist featuring Judith Burton and Constance Lamb – was a Sunday Times Crime Club pick and is shortlisted for the 2018 Waverton Good Read Award.
If you would like to find out more about Abi Silver and her books you can visit her website http://abisilver.co.uk/