Views & Reviews Between the Lines

A box of tricks

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3322 (Published 02 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3322
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Transcripts of trials almost always make good reading, but perhaps that is because only those of interesting trials are ever published. Their literary quality is high, but they also have the advantage of an inherently dramatic structure with a built-in climax. The longueurs of trials in real life are, of course, edited out.

    The transcript of one trial in Manchester was published in 1933 by the accused, under the title “The Black Box Trial.” It was reprinted five years later.

    Charles Clement Abbott was accused of manslaughter. For many years he had practised as “a physio-medicalist” practitioner. He was a former miner who had suffered from tuberculosis and, having been given up …

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