Degrees of Guilt – HS Chandler


When you read this book, you will think you know every twist in the tale.

Maria is on trial for attempted murder.

She has confessed to the crime and wanted her husband dead.

Lottie is on the jury, trying to decide her fate.

She embarks on an illicit affair with a stranger, and her husband can never find out.

You will think you know who is guilty and who is innocent.

You will be wrong.


A former barrister, HS Chandler practised for thirteen years in both family and criminal law. Having extensively prosecuted and defended, she is an avid believer in the right to a fair trial, and in the invaluable role that juries play in the British legal system.


I had heard lots of good things about Degrees of Guilt and when I was asked to organise the blogtour by Orion I jumped at the chance and popped my blog down too putting the book aside for my holiday pile.  I hadn’t read much about what the book was about, but had seen lots of raving reviews from my book club members and fellow bloggers and if they said it was fantastic that was good enough for me.

I started this on holiday and despite spending 5 hours walking around Pompeii  I managed to read this book in a day, which basically confirms all you may have heard about this being a gripping, page turner which is literally unputdownable.

Degrees of Guilt is a clever and thoroughly addictive courtroom drama with an edge of domestic noir.  HS Chandler (Helen Field) has given us a superb legal thriller and her knowledge and experience as a criminal barrister is evident throughout this fast paced story.

Degrees of Guilt has two fascinating leading female characters: Maria Bloxham who is on trial for the attempted murder of her husband, the famous humanist, TV presenter and author Dr Edward Bloxham and Lottie, a young mother who is part of the jury tasked with deciding Maria’s fate.

As we delve deeper into the story we learn more about Maria’s marriage and life to her controlling and sadistic husband and the reader begins to feel sympathy for her predicament, but concern that she will be judged on her actions rather than the circumstances leading to her vicious attack.  Lottie is also a compelling character, a young beautiful mother to a 3 year old son married to an older and controlling man she begins to question her own marriage and life once she is faced with examining the facts of Maria’s downfall.

Domestic abuse is featured heavily in the story and this makes for some very uncomfortable reading, however the author tackles these subjects with sensitivity at all times.

I absolutely devoured this book and highly recommend it to fans of psychological, legal, or courtroom thrillers and give this 5 stars.


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