legal history -- *not*
The (alas!) not-very-prolific Caudwell wrote four outstanding mysteries, told in the first person by legal historian Hilary Tamar: Thus was Adonis Murdered, The Shortest Way to Hades, The Sirens Sang of Murder, and The Sibyl in Her Grave. Tamar is more narrator than sleuth; most of the action centers around an office of young attorneys of Hilary's acquaintance: dishevelled, haphazard Julia, always on the lookout for slender young men; cool, beautiful, competent Selena; the very proper Desmond Ragwort; and the sometimes scandalous Michael Cantrip. The books are funny in that dry British way, and read aloud delightfully, especially if one can affect a dry English accent.
If you already know Sarah Caudwell's name, then you've probably read one or more of her books, and further description is unnecessary. If you have not, it's difficult to know how to describe them. Suffice it to say that when we found her last offering, The Sibyl in Her Grave, finally available at the bookstore during our recent vacation, we began reading it aloud as soon as we got in the car.
Alas, Dame Sarah passed away earlier this year (2000), so there will never be a fifth Hilary Tamar novel. But that just means that you've no excuse for not buying all of them when you're next at the store.