what Langford has done with her first book is to turn her experience of 11 criminal cases into short stories that are as compelling as fiction, with the added fascination of being essentially true. This collection is not a tour of her greatest triumphs, nor a vindication of her career. Instead, she has used the innate dramatic potential of a court case to take us into the kind of heightened experiences that many of us would never see.
The prose is engrossing, and the book is only too easy to devour in great gulps. Langford doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects; the chapter focusing on her defence of an allegedly paedophilic father is chilling, while her ambivalence at representing a young man accused of possessing indecent images is frank and unresolved. ‘How can you defend someone who’s guilty?’ is the question barristers always face — but holding someone’s fate in your hands is usually more complex than that. Langford tackles the frustration and fears of the profession with honesty and energy.