A Short Gentleman, By Jon Canter

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The Independent Culture

Robert Purcell, a very distinguished barrister and a fully paid up member of the British establishment, has somehow ended up in prison – and he needs to understand why. Prompted by his wife to pen a confession, he applies his legalistic mind to appraising all the forces that have brought him down.

With great panache and assurance, Jon Canter lampoons the pretentions of England's top legal set – poking fun at their chicory tartes tatins and country houses, their "cello-playing daughters" and "cello-friendly" cars. It's only as this comic tour de force winds down that the reader starts to suspect that Robert's upper-crust posturings might spring from altogether more interesting genetic stock.

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