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Henry Cecil, known to many as His Honour Judge H.C. Leon, MC, was a High Court judge as well as a famous author. He wrote during the three-week-long family holidays which were usually spent in comfortable hotels in Britain. He would sit in a deck chair in a sunny garden, exercise book on lap and pen in hand, writing from 10 am to 1pm, then again from 2.30 to 4 pm each day. His writing career is attributed to his Second World War experiences. Sailing around the Cape on a 'dry' troop ship on the way to Cairo, the colonel asked his adjutant (Cecil) to tell stories to keep the officers' minds off alcohol. The stories were so popular that they became a regular feature, and formed the basis of his first collection, 'Full Circle', published in 1948. Thereafter, the legal year, his impressions at court, or at other official functions, as well as dinners at the Savoy Grill or at his club, the Garrick, all provided material for his considerable brain power. Many of his stories were made into films or plays - notably 'Brothers-in-Law' and 'Alibi for a Judge'. These and other books have also provided a stimulus for those wishing to take up law as a career. They are a delight for those who look for authenticity in the most aptly described British characters. Cecil died in May 1976, still at the height of his mental powers.
Immensely readable. His stories rely above all on one quality - an extraordinary, an arresting, a really staggering ingenuity. -- New Statesman