Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's List: Jury Duty

Yes, jury duty. Don't know that I'll actually be serving on a jury, but next week I'm on call. And that got me thinking about books involving courts and trials and juries. So here's a little list of some of the titles I came up with. I've read most of them, but some are on my list to read someday. A few nonfiction, but mostly novels and plays.
  1. The Eumenides. Aeschylus (Might as well start off with possibly the first literary trial in history.)
  2. Anatomy of a Murder. Robert Traver
  3. A Time to Kill. John Grisham (Haven't read anything by Grisham, but I want to. He's written so many legal thrillers, it's hard to know where to start; so I'm just using the book that started it all.)
  4. The Caine Mutiny. Herman Wouk
  5. Helter Skelter. Vincent Bugliosi (The story of the investigation of the Manson Family murders back in the 1960s and the subsequent trial, by the prosecuting attorney in the case. One of the best true crime tales ever written.)
  6. Inherit the Wind. James Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee
  7. The Merchant of Venice. William Shakespeare
  8. Rumpole of the Bailey. John Mortimer (The first collection of stories or novellas, based on the wonderful British TV show.)
  9. The Stranger. Albert Camus
  10. Strong Poison. Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey meets Harriet Vane for the first time, when she's on trial for poisoning her former lover. When Lord Peter falls in love with Harriet himself, he has to prove she's not guilty or risk losing her forever! Great stuff.)
  11. Kidnap: The Story of the Lindbergh Case. George Waller
  12. To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee
  13. The Trial. Franz Kafka
  14. Twelve Angry Men. Reginald Rose (This one began life as a TV show, and then morphed into a much-performed play and a couple of movies.)
  15. Witness for the Prosecution. Agatha Christie
Most of these have been filmed or turned into TV shows (or based on TV shows). That makes sense, I suppose, as trials are naturally packed with drama. Of course, I'm hoping any trial I might be involved in will be nice and quiet and (above all) short.


  1. Jury duty? I am sorry. But, maybe it won't be anything major if you even get selected. Up until now I haven't read many legal thrillers -- but I have read "To Kill A Mockingbird" -- Aunt Linnie's copy and I did recently buy "Rebecca" which is on my short list. Have to check out a few of the others.

  2. B-B--
    Yes, I'm hoping I won't have to do any jury time. I've already served on one jury a few years ago, and they told me I'd probably never be called again. Hmmmm.

    I took Rebecca off the list because I realized that there's really no trial in the book, just an inquest. But it's very dramatic and sort of brings the whole story together. You should definitely read it.

  3. Could be some good reading time.

    My mum was called last year and spent most of the 2 wks waiting to be called.


  4. Well, if you have to serve, consider it bonus reading time.

  5. Ooo, this is a great list! I'm not a big trial book fan but some of these books are classics. Enjoy jury duty as much as you can. ;O)


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