ORIGIN & CAUSE by Shelly Reuben

Let’s just say that murders happened in the middle of other things: a cop,  a lawyer, a fire investigator get up, they fight with their wives, they eat. Sometimes they think. The law is something they think about.  How it came to be what it is, where it came from, when it changed.  If you have a father who reads, who respects the history of things, who loves the Law, you think about what a lawyer should be, what the law should be, what an institution like the law allows human beings to be.

In Europe, rich people sometimes keep a modest apartment in a poor or marginal area of their city. They call it their “pied a terre”. Translated, this means “foot on the ground”. It is said that their purpose in maintaining these small apartments is to remind them of their roots and to keep them in touch with reality. And that’s exactly why I always keep my copy of Letters To A Young Lawyer in my briefcase. The words within, the philosophy, Harris’  love of simplicity and reverence for the law, this is my psychological pied a terre.

The Mistress of the Art of the Dead by Ariana Franklin read by Roslyn Landor

Before Patricia Cornwell, before CSI, did anybody read dead bodies or examine them for traces of their killer? Yes, as it happens. Where there are bodies, there are secrets and where there are secrets, there are readers. Gaudinus the African, for example, who remembers people only by diseases, and greets his visitor from Palermo, the personal secretary and keeper of the King’s royal secrets such:

“Hemorrhoids!!” He said triumphantly, at last. “You had piles. How are they?”

Hemorrhoids distinguishes Mordechai Fils Barachia, who brings news of the murders of children in Henry II’s England. Representing the King of Sicily, Mordechai calls for a medical examiner, a reader and decoder of dead bodies, a Mistress of the Art of the Dead, to go to England and find out if indeed it is the Jews are the murderers of children.