THE RAPUNZEL ACT By Abi Silver @EyeAndLightning @midaspr @abisilver16 #TheRapunzelAct #Bookblogtour

Available to purchase from the 15th April | Paperback | from all good book retailers.

I would like to thank Amber Choudhary of Midas books for my spot on this blogtour and for my copy of the book, all opinions expressed are my own in my own words.


When breakfast TV host and nation’s darling Rosie Harper is found brutally murdered in her home, suspicion falls on her spouse, formerly international football star, Danny ‘walks on water’ Mallard, now living out of the public eye as a trans woman, Debbie.

Not only must Debbie challenge the hard evidence against her, including her blood-drenched glove at the scene of the crime, she must also contend with the world’s prejudices, as the trial is broadcast live. For someone trying to live their life without judgement, it might be too much to bear.

Legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb feel the pressure of public scrutiny as they strive to defend their most famous client yet.


If you like a good court drama then this is a book you will enjoy. Book 4 in the Burton & Lamb case series. The first one that I have read, it’s easy enough to read as a stand-alone novel as the story is all covered. The only thing I struggled with by not having read the other books is the dynamics between Burton and Lamb. For me I do like to read books in order so that you know the characters from the beginning, and with this one there were a couple of bits I wondered what had happened previously. I liked that the two ladies don’t always agree with each other when working on a case. After all who has the exact same opinions all the time. When Constance is occasionally saying how Judith should proceed with the next witness Judith didn’t always take that advice.

This case involved an ex footballer formerly known as Danny ‘Walks on water’ Mallard who is now living away from his famous footballer days and living as a trans woman, Debbie.

Rosie Harper a breakfast tv host is Debbie’s ex wife and mother of their two children Laura 21 and Ben 16. Debbie had visited at lunchtime on the day Rosie had been murdered, which put her in the frame as the last person to have seen her or known to have seen her on that fateful day, she had been murdered with a trophy she had won, in quite a brutal way. The story is told in two parts. The first part is gathering all the information by the prosecution and defence teams, as well as Court tv preparing themselves for the first live trial being shown on British television.

Legal duo Judith Burton and Constance Lamb took on the case of defending Debbie. They knew it was going to be a tough case. To make matters worse Court Tv was going to have cameras in the court and the whole trial was going to be televised, this would be the first trial to have been shown like this in the Uk so meant added pressure, millions will be following the trial through their television sets watching everything that the prosecution and defence teams did as well as the judge. Then everything would be analysed and criticised on an evening show known as behind the scenes or BTS.

What was interesting with this story was the links with the OJ Simpson case, which was obviously televised. American court TV has been going for years, having filmed a lot of high profile trials, it has recently been added to sky tv, and is currently showing the George Floyd Case. So for the Americans it’s something they are used to but how would it work in the English courts? But back to the OJ similarities a glove was found at the scene, although there was some argument as to whether it was there all the time or not as it had been difficult to find on any of the crime scene photos, had the police planted the glove? When the police approached Debbie and told her Rosie was dead she was devastated but excused herself to use the bathroom, within seconds she was fleeing on her motorcycle, which led to a police chase across the city.

It was interesting to see how Constance and Judith worked, Constance collected information as the solicitor and Judith was the barrister in court doing the cross examining. The whole court case felt real and tense, reminding me of the days I used to watch Perry Mason or even crown court if I was off school. The introduction of court tv had made all nervous, Judith was in a sort of denial and was reluctant to see what they had to say about her initially but I think as the trial went on she started to listen a little more to Constance about the impact of the trial being shown on tv. The judge had had a sort of makeover before the trial started, and the prosecution lawyer was wearing a fancy ring and cuff links etc which he hadn’t been seen to be wearing before. Showing how people can change when a camera is there, watching everything.

The trial being of an ex footballer who had gone through a full sex change was interesting. He had waited many years before making the decision to come out, despite feeling he was in the wrong body for most of his life, imagine being in that sort of spotlight to then eventually announce this, a very tough decision on anyone let alone on a top footballer or any sportsman who is cheered as being a real man’s man. Does this make him weak or strong? It’s like one of the major footballers now coming out as trans or gay. How would society take that, after all it’s no longer a crime, and why shouldn’t they live their lives as their true selves, not hide, quite sad really. I know a couple of rugby players have come out in recent years as gay but no footballers.

Then you wonder would court tv work on British tv, I am sure it would have plenty of viewers, but as our court system is so different from the American one I honestly don’t know. I know it’s something I would watch, having watched some of the American court tv. When you think of the Netflix programmes which have been shown over the last few years and have become very popular, I believe it would definitely be watched. But would it change how people feel? How people think about a case? We are all fascinated by crime.

This is a well plotted, well written story, with some great characters, I couldn’t initially work out whether Debbie was innocent or guilty, as she didn’t always give her defence team all the information needed. But who else was a suspect, Rosie’s brother Ellis seemed a little bit off to me, along with Jason, Rosie’s co host, the nosey neighbour seemed to know a lot making out how friendly her and Rosie were, but was that just playing up to the cameras, the same with Caroline Rosie’s so called best friend. Then there’s Nicki what was she up to? She is someone who arranges protest marches, she is known to the police, what is her interest in the trial? Where does Rapunzel fit in? I felt for Ben and Laura as their mother was dead and their father was on trial and they just seemed caught up in the middle, only they knew exactly how their parents got on with each other in real life. They had been married for 20 years, the break up would have been hard for both parties.

Definitely a book I would highly recommend to readers of court drama, crime thrillers. It certainly had me guessing who the murderer was, just when I thought I had guessed it, it changed to someone else. I look forward to reading more of Burton and Lamb cases.


Abi Silver is an author and lawyer who grew up in Leeds in a traditional Jewish family. Watching Granada TV’s ‘Crown Court’ in between lessons led her to study law at Girton College, Cambridge. Abi then worked in London at international law firm, Allen & Overy and at RPC, before spending five years in Israel, where her husband, Daniel, was posted. During her time there, alongside raising her three young sons, Abi completed an MBA by distance learning, learned Hebrew and pottery on the wheel and began to write fiction, usually late at night. On returning to the UK, she went back to law before quitting a permanent position in 2015 when she decided to try her hand at writing again which led to publication of The Pinocchio Brief. based in Radlett, Hertfordshire, Abi works part-time as a legal consultant and author.

Background to The Rapunzel Act (In Abi’s own words)

The inspiration for my stories generally comes from disparate sources; it was no different this time around. Criminal trials have been routinely filmed in the United States since the 1990’s, but an article by Lord Pannick, in The Times, some years back, in favour of allowing cameras into our courtrooms, really struck a nerve. Fast forward a few months and reading Professor Paul Thaler’s books about the extraordinary impact televising trials had on the OJ Simpson trial (and others) and I had my underlying theme for Burton & Lamb no. 4

Of course, in OJ’s case, race became a defining factor, but I wanted a different issue to explore, which might equally polarise public opinion today. And then I came across Isabella Segal, a trans woman, who lived locally, who had been very open in the media about her own experiences of transition and who was happy to share some of them with me. So Debbie Mallard, ex England and international footballer and former spouse of breakfast TV darling, Rosie Harper (and the latest defendant to put her trust in Judith Burton and Constance Lamb), was born. And the football references came easily to me, after years of living in a household of men. Enjoy!

Social media: @abisilver16

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