I’m pleased to announce two forthcoming books!
CALLING DOWN THE STORM
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.
WALDEN OF BERMONDSEY
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!