The Waxwork Corpse Book Review

Bear with me while I try and do this book justice. It’s been a while since I read a couple of books a week and churned out a few reviews in a month. I’ve gone from living my life in books to not reading at all and focusing on my baby to starting reading fiction again in the short space of just over a year.


When I was asked to review The Waxwork Corpse by Simon Michael, I thought this is just what I need to get back to thinking about books.


The Waxwork Corpse is the fifth book in the Charles Holborne series but it reads like a standalone one. One thing I believe I missed by not reading the preceding four is some background on Charles as a lot of the book deals with his family and his past. However, the legal case Charles works on requires no knowledge of the previous storylines.


To be quite frank, this book wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be, but then again I did miss the fact that it’s a legal thriller. That is why I was half expecting the case to develop in the usual crime novel style and was confused when it didn’t. At least I now know that legal thrillers work in a different way.


We first meet Charles as a young man during the World War when he’s involved in an unpleasant event during an air raid. We’re then transported into the 1960s when he works as a barrister in London. I kept thinking about what significance that first chapter had and how it’d play out in the rest of the book and the author masterfully connects this first glimpse of young Charles and the man he became later on in the book.

While there are plenty of explorations of Charles’s relationship with his family, religion and past, the main storyline in the book is that of a body found in the lake and the consequent trail.


Charles is called to act on behalf of a prosecution in the trial against a high ranking judge who was charged with murdering his wife. Simon Michael worked as a barrister himself and this case is based on a real case, which means that the trial and the setting is described with great detail and knowledge of the innerworkings of the Temple.


What I most enjoyed about this book though was learning about the main character. Charles wasn’t always a law abiding citizen and this as well as his family and religious background make him unlike the other barristers. All of these make him the perfect choice for the prosecution of the high profile case as he is a character that won’t be affected either by the position of the defendant or by the press.

I’m keen to read other books in the series, not so much because I’m interested in the legal aspects, but because I want to know more about the main character.

The Waxwork Corpse was provided by Sapere Books in exchange for the review.

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