Will Benson and Tess De Vere Last Call: ‘Summary Justice’ On Deck at HogPro

On 1 October we will begin discussion of the John Fairfax (aka William Brodrick) novel Summary Justice. I have explained why and my excitement about this first book and the series of novels it introduces here and here and here. We’ll move on to the second book of the Benson-de Vere court room thrillers, Blind Defence, on 14 October and speculation about the third, Forced Confessions, that will be out in March 2020.

Today, in hope of encouraging you to pick up the book at your local library or to buy it online or at your local bricks-and-mortar store, I will list as my ‘Last Call!’ seven of the topics scheduled for this first week of discussion:

  • ‘Did He Do It?’ The big question of the series is whether the hero, William Benson, actually committed the murder for which he was convicted and imprisoned as a young man. We’ll list the evidence for and against that is provided in Summary Justice.
  • The Cratylic Names: Benson, and De Vere, certainly, but what about ‘John Fairfax,’ a name associated in the UK with a heroic athlete and with a creative writing teacher;
  • Benson/Strike: Comparing and contrasting the main male characters of the two series
  • De Vere/Ellacott: Comparing and contrasting the main female characters of the two series
  • Rowling/Galbraith versus Brodrick/Fairfax: The similarities and the differences in their choices of and decisions to use a pseudonym;
  • The Slow Release: We get a story that is told against the backdrop and bracketing of the larger mystery in Summary Justice. Here the larger story is Benson’s murder rap with some questions about de Vere’s escape to and return from Belgium. Does Fairfax’s use of this continued story model compare favorably with Galbraith’s slow release of details about Leda Strike’s death, Cormoran’s history at Oxford and Afghanistan, the Charlotte lost child, and Robin’s reasons for not completing her university degree?
  • The Romance: Well, does Benson love de Vere? She him? What’s going on in this bizarro relationship of inspiration, admiration, curiosity, and secret-keeping?

Get reading — and feel free to keep notes on any and all of these question topics for our discussion that begins here on 1 October!

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