Dec 07

Walden of Bermondsey off to a Great Start at Middle Temple!

Walden of Bermondsey was given a great launch in the elegant and historic surroundings of the Queen’s Room at Middle Temple on the evening of 5 December.  Undeterred by the weather a good crowd of friends, some of them judges, gathered for wine, canapés and an autographed copy of the book.  A number came armed with their Christmas shopping lists and bought additional copies as gifts.  It felt as though I spent most of the evening signing books, but I know I also gave a reading from Where there’s Smoke, the first story in the book, and formally announced the agreement with Alistair Maclean-Clark to acquire the option for the TV and film rights for this book, and Judge Walden: Back in Session, which is to be published in May or June next year: see previous post.  I was delighted that Alistair was present with his wife, Rosaria.  My agent Guy Rose, who brought Alistair and me together, was also there with his wife, Alexandra.  Thanks to the staff at Middle Temple, who were superb as ever, and to Ion, Claire, Clare, Frances and Tasha from No Exit Press, who organised and ran the event with their usual efficiency and charm.  And, of course, to all who attended.  Pictures follow.  Second picture left, shows Alistair (foreground, left) and Guy (right) with their wives.  Third left, yours truly with fellow No Exit author Leigh Russell.  Fourth left, signing a book for Heather Galwas from St Ives (Cambs) Library, which has welcomed me as a speaker a number of times.  Top right: this is how I know I interrupted signings to say a few words.

Nov 28

Excitement over Option of Walden of Bermondsey as Launch Approaches!

There is exciting news about Walden of Bermondsey and the second volume in the series Judge Walden: Back in Session.  Producer Alistair Maclean-Clark has acquired the option for the TV and film rights to the books in a deal announced yesterday.  I will be working with Alistair towards producing a pilot episode, including selecting a scriptwriter to turn the stories into good TV scripts, and provisional casting of the main characters.  It’s a new world for me, an exciting one, and I am very grateful to my agent, Guy Rose, for his skill and hard work in bringing the agreement about:

The launch for Walden of Bermondsey is coming up on Tuesday 5 December (see previous posts, and below).  There is still time to book a ticket, or you can just turn up on the night.  The venue is the beautiful Queen’s Room at Middle Temple, and in addition to the superb venue and the wine, the price includes an autographed copy of the book.  The second volume,  Judge Walden: Back in Session, will be published in June 2018, and I am pleased to announce that former Lord Chief justice, Lord Judge, has agreed to write the foreword for this volume

Walden of Bermondsey was published  on 23 November, and has already had some very encouraging reviews.  A selection follows.

Warm, witty and endearingly entertaining, fans of Rumpole of the Bailey will relish this romp through the trials and tribulations of a Bermondsey based Resident Judge’
Joanne Owen, LoveReading

‘It’s a brilliant mix of insight, familiar bureaucratic concerns, and downright fun puzzles’
Leanna, The Crime Review

‘Think Judge Deed, with less moral constipation, with a flair of Kavanagh QC and a smidgen of Rumpole of the Bailey. Walden of Bermondsey is the legal procedural equivalent of a cosy mystery’
Cheryl, Cheryl M M’s Book Blog

‘Charlie is not the only character in Walden Of Bermondsey who I found interesting. He works with some colourful colleagues, whose interactions with both Charlie and each other provides the novel with humour’
Kate, Portable Magic

‘What makes it stand out are the fabulously witty moments and seeing a court through the eyes of a judge instead of a lawyer… I really enjoyed meeting Charlie Walden’
Eva, Novel Deelights

Peter Murphy was interviewed by Sharon from Shaz’s Book Blog about his new character Walden and his writing life.
Sharon, Shaz’s Book Blog

‘This is going to make quite a cracking little series’
Susan Hampson, Books From Dusk Till Dawn

Sep 06

Announcing Walden Launch!





Jul 17

New Blogs

‘Peter Murphy tells us what makes him write’
Shots Mag – Shots Magazine

My Life in Books by Peter Murphy
Anne Cater, Random Things Through My Letter Box – My Life in Books

Jul 10

Another Great Evening at Heffers!

The folks at Heffers in Cambridge certainly know how to throw a party, and they did it again on the evening of Thursday 6 July.  This was the summer Whats your Poison? event, which brings together a number of authors to read from and talk about their work, and sign books for those who buy them.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to this event several times, and have always found it enormous fun and hugely rewarding.  This year, each of the fourteen authors present was asked to read, and I must blow a collective trumpet for all of us.  In the interests of time, we were limited to three minutes each, to introduce ourselves and read.  It was quite a challenge, but every one of the fourteen of us kept to the allotted time!  Catherine, filling in for Kate, who couldn’t be with us this time, didn’t have to blow her whistle once – and believe me, she had a loud whistle ready and was perfectly prepared to use it!  I don’t recall any similar occasion on which speakers have been so disciplined, and indeed I do recall various occasions during my legal career, when lawyers were utterly unable to keep to their allotted times!  So I think we did well.  Both before and after the readings, those present were able to talk to the authors and buy books, while enjoying a glass or two of wine. Judging from the reaction of the goodly crowd that attended, they thoroughly enjoyed the evening, as did the authors.  Congratulations to Richard, Kate and Catherine on yet another great party, and thank you for inviting me!

May 30

Preview of Coming Attractions!

I’m pleased to announce two forthcoming books!



Towards the end of June, the latest Ben Schroeder novel, Calling down the Storm, will be out in paperback and as an ebook.  This is a story of two separate but strangely parallel lives: the life of a defendant on trial for murder, and the life of the judge who presides over his trial.  When DI Webb and DS Raymond respond to a 999 call in Bloomsbury, they stumble on to a bizarre scene.  A young woman is bleeding to death.  The man who appears to have killed her is sitting motionless nearby, still holding the blood-stained knife.  He does not resist arrest, says not a word, and later claims to be suffering from shock and amnesia.  These claims cause his barrister, Ben Schroeder, huge problems in preparing his defence.  Unbeknownst to his strict Baptist wife, the judge, Mr Justice Conrad Rainer, has a predilection for beautiful women and high-stakes gambling, which he can afford only as long as he wins.  As his luck runs out, he crosses lines in his effort to fund his habit, but to his horror he learns that there is a sinister connection between his own underworld contacts and those involved in the trial of Ben’s client.  His career and life hang in the balance.  And then there’s the awkward matter of the body in the closet of his expensive Barbican flat.  Both defendant and judge have called down the storm on to their heads, and time is running out.




I’ve always been a huge fan of John Mortimer’s immortal Rumpole of the Bailey, both the books and the wonderful TV series starring Leo McKern. During my legal career, and particularly my time as a judge, I accumulated a number of good stories and characters, as lawyers do, and it occurred to me to write a series of short stories in the Rumpole tradition, told from the perspective of the judge rather than the barrister.  The result is Walden of Bermondsey, which will be published at the end of November, in time for the Holidays.  It is an unapologetic homage to Mortimer and Rumpole. The Stories are entitled: Where there’s Smoke; First past the Post; Until the Real Thing comes Along; Artistic Differences; Uneasy lies the Head; and For Whom the Belles Troll.  No Exit have produced a limited number of FREE copies of Where there’s Smoke, and I hope to have some available for my forthcoming appearances at St. Ives Library (6 June) and Heffers, Cambridge (6 July) – see earlier post.

My friend and former colleague His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, the Recorder of London, kindly agreed to contribute a foreword, in which he writes that my protagonist, Judge Charles (‘Charlie’) Walden, ‘deserves a place in the pantheon of legal figures’.  Pre-publication reviewers have been very kind.

Playwright and novelist David Ambrose describes the book as an ‘unputdownable delight’ and writes –

‘No one writes with more wit, warmth and insight about the law and its practitioners than Peter Murphy.  He has no equal since the great John “Rumpole” Mortimer.’

Reviewer Paul Magrath says –

‘It is the humour that makes Walden of Bermondsey such a delightful read … Add a dash of Henry Cecil for his situation and AP Herbert for the fun he has with the law, and you get a sense of [Peter’s] literary precedents.’


I hope you enjoy them!


May 30

From Bristol to Paris: Two Great Events!

I recently appeared at two great events.  They involved a good deal of work and travel, which taxed me after my recent illness (see earlier post, Hello, I’m Back!).  But they were both very worthwhile.



On Friday 19 May I spoke on a panel at CrimeFest, held as ever at Bristol’s Marriott on College Green.  This has become an annual event for me, and as ever it was lively and wonderfully chaotic, but with everything somehow coming together.  The rather forbidding title of the panel was: Bring Lawyers, Guns and Money: It might be Legal, but is it Just?  That might have been enough to put some moderators off, but not Thomas Mogford, who effortlessly led me and my fellow-panellists, WHS (‘Willie’) McIntyre, Simon Michael, and David Thorne, through details of our legal thrillers (a good number of which he had read), while also doing justice to his own writing.  It was an excellent panel, in the course of which Thomas also opened the door to some good serious discussion about racial and other discrimination in the legal profession, a subject about which Simon and I have both written.  Signed a few books and had a great time!



One of the features of my former life as a judge is a gig I’ve had for several years now.  L’Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature (ENM) is the college that trains all French judges and prosecutors.  Basic training takes place at the college’s HQ in Bordeaux, and continuing education at its Paris premises.  For reasons I don’t completely understand, but for which I’m very grateful, ENM requires all its students and graduates to be capable of reading and speaking English to a reasonable level, and to learn at least in outline about the English and American legal systems.  I have had the privilege of being one of a group of judges and lawyers who assist in teaching this part of the curriculum, and I generally make two or three trips to France each year for this purpose.  Recently, my ENM contact Amanda Gedge-Wallace, also a Ben Schroeder fan (!) invited me to pioneer a Law and Literature class in Paris in the week of 22 May.  In advance of the class, the delegates were assigned to read A Matter for the Jury, which became our teaching vehicle for the English trial process.  I was very nervous about the prospect, but the twenty judges and prosecutors who attended seemed to have enjoyed the book, and went on to Amazon to buy more as we went along!  Most importantly, they did seem to learn through the detailed discussions we held in English.  ENM have now decided to continue this theme, and we will be repeating with the same book next year!


A Matter for the Jury


May 30

Exciting News: My New Agent, Guy Rose!

I am thrilled and honoured to announce that Guy Rose of FRA Literary Agents has become my literary agent, effective from the end of April of this year.  I was formerly represented by Annette Crossland of the A for Authors Agency.  I am grateful to Annette for all the work she did on my behalf. and wish her well in her future endeavours.  But signing with Guy offers me some great opportunities.

Guy studied English with novelist Tom Sharpe, whose Times obituary he co-authored.  Joining Vernon Futerman’s agency in 1993, and becoming a name partner, Guy has since represented a wide variety of authors in both fiction and non-fiction.  They include writers as diverse as reformed criminal John McVicar; Second World War triple agent Eddie Chapman (the subject of the film Triple Cross, starring Christopher Plummer); and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith.

I met Guy last year at a literary festival at which we were both speaking.  He is representing me first in relation to a novel I haven’t posted  about yet: a story for the American market, a partly historical novel which begins with events occurring during the War of Independence and continuing into events occurring in contemporary times, in which I was involved as a lawyer.  It’s a work I recently completed after trying to get it into a format I like for more than twenty years.  Watch this space for further information.  For now, all I will say is that I’m excited with the results, and excited that I have Guy’s considerable experience behind me.  Guy’s contact details are;

Guy Rose

FRA literary Agents

91 St. Leonards Road

London SW14 7BL

Phone: 0208 8255 7755






May 30

Hello, I’m Back!

Many readers have noticed that this website has been a quiet over the past few months.  Sadly, after a lifetime of good health, I have finally had to confront some serious medical problems.  These problems involved serious surgery and considerable medication and it has taken me a long time to recover.  Fortunately, I am now emerging from the gloom, having been effectively been out of action since November.  I am slowly getting back to active duty as an author as the following posts will show, though I am rationing appearances for now,  Fortunately, I have been able to continue writing for almost all of the time!

My forthcoming appearances are:

Tuesday 6 June, St, Ives (Cambs) Library, from 2 to 3.30.

Thursday 6 July, Heffers, Cambridge summer crime festival ‘What’s your poison?’ from 6.30 to 8.00.

I do hope to see some of my readers at these events, where I will be talking about the latest Ben Schroeder novel, Calling down the Storm, and my forthcoming collection of humorous short stories in the Rumpole tradition, based in part on my experiences as a judge, and entitled Walden of Bermondsey.  I hope to have some FREE copies of the first story, Where There’s Smoke, produced by my publisher, No Exit Press!



Oct 17

Think you can write a Novel?

Many people believe they have a novel inside them, but somehow never quite get round to writing it.  Thinking about it can be intimidating.  Writing a novel is a huge undertaking, and involves not only imagination in developing good characters and story-lines, but also hard work over an extended period of time in actually writing the book.  It is, however,  also an incredibly rewarding experience on many levels, and if you believe you have a book inside you, it is worthwhile trying to get it out.  When I spoke at the inaugural Saddleworth Literary Festival earlier this month (see earlier post) I was asked to give a workshop for aspiring authors.  It was the first time I had done this, and although I was initially nervous about the prospect, I found the workshop interesting and stimulating.  I met some aspiring authors who are on their way to producing good work, but still struggling with some issues, and I was able to offer some advice and encouragement.  As I was putting my thoughts together for the workshop, I jotted down some notes.  They reflect some of the basic lessons I have learned both about writing a novel and about getting it published.  After the Festival, it occurred to me that the notes might be useful to others generally.  I wrote them up a little more formally. and they are now available, both in Word and PDF, via the link at the top right of the home page of this website.  Feel free to download them, and I hope they help.  I would like to do more workshops for aspiring writers.  If you would like to contact me about this, please send a comment to this post.  Good luck with your writing!