Legal career adds authenticity to debut novel

Retired lawyer and long-time Shoreham resident Ian Wilson has just brought out his first novel.


“Much of the action in the story is in Lewes, Brighton and Worthing,” says Ian.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle and is called Seeds of Death. For Ian, it represents the fulfilment of a long-held ambition – one delayed by a distinguished law career.

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“I was born at the end of World War Two in New Delhi, India. My father was a captain in the Royal Engineers and met my mother, then a nurse, whilst in hospital in Shimla. My mother had been brought up in Calcutta.

“We returned to the UK when I was only three months old, so I had no recollection of the country. I returned 12 years ago and visited the hospital in Delhi where I was born and the hospital in Shimla where my parents met.

“I was bowled over by India, rather like Joanna Lumley who was born there but left before she was one.

“I went to school in Brighton and at 18 took what were then called articles in a firm of solicitors in the town. Five years later I qualified as a solicitor. I was drawn to litigation work and revelled in court appearances.

“I enjoyed advocacy and was once described by an usher at court as the local ‘Perry Mason’! Throughout a long career I represented defendants in numerous murder cases and later, having gained higher courts advocacy rights, appeared for the CPS and HM Customs and Excise in the Crown Court.

“I was appointed a part-time employment tribunal judge and later a Recorder (part time Crown Court judge). I sat in the Crown Courts of Sussex, Kent and Surrey for 15 years. I became senior partner in a firm of Brighton solicitors Dean Wilson LLP which I partly founded back in 1973.

“Since school days I had always wanted to write but time constraints only allowed me to write letters to The Times, the first one being published when I was only 19! On retirement from the practice I enrolled on a six-month creative writing course at Northbrook College and was encouraged by some of my fellow students to use my court experience as the basis for a novel.

“I decided to weave India into the story and much of the investigation by the Sussex police is in India. However, the main action is here in the UK culminating in a trial at Lewes Crown Court. The main plot revolves around the determination of the dead woman’s mother, who lives in Arundel, to force the CPS to prosecute the alleged perpetrator. Having eventually persuaded the CPS to prosecute with the help of a local MP, the story is about the efforts of the police to obtain evidence against the accused, who in turn alleges that the deceased’s female flat mate was responsible for the death.

“The accused had been having an affair with the dead woman in the British Embassy in New Delhi, but she discovered he had been taking bribes from a construction firm for government contracts. If he were found out, his career would be over. Thus he had a clear motive and the means to drop some deadly seeds into her food the night before she flew back to the UK on leave.

“The dead woman’s flatmate back in the UK, a local barrister, was devastated to find out that the woman she shared a flat and bed with had been having a ‘straight’ relationship with her fellow male employee in New Delhi. The accused, who represented himself at the trial, alleged that the flat mate’s motive was that if she could not have the deceased then nobody else would.

“The climax is the attempt made by this jilted lover to kill the accused whilst he was in custody. The police are desperate to find this woman whom they are sure intends to harm the accused but they do not know how or when. A somewhat complicated plot! I will not spoil the ending.

“I describe the various hearings in some detail hopefully giving a flavour to what goes on behind the scenes in criminal trials.”

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