Walden of Bermondsey

Walden of Bermondsey

The First Collection of Walden of Bermondsey stories

When Charlie Walden took on the job of Resident Judge of the Bermondsey Crown Court, he was hoping for a quiet life. During his short walk from the vicarage to court, there’s a lattè waiting at Elsie and Jeanie’s archway café, and The Times at George’s news stand. After a hard day of trial, he and the Reverend Mrs Walden can enjoy a curry and a couple of Cobras at the Delights of the Raj, or a pasta with a decent Valpolicella at La Bella Napoli. But a quiet life? Well, not exactly…

Charlie soon finds himself struggling to keep the peace between three feisty fellow judges who have different views about how to do their job, and about how Charlie should do his: Judge Rory ‘Legless’ Dunblane, a proud Scotsman and former rugby player who takes what he likes to think of as a no-nonsense approach to judging; Judge Marjorie Jenkins, judge and super-mum, a brilliant lawyer with a whiz-kid husband in the City, the queen of the common sense approach to the job; and Judge Hubert Drake, nearing retirement, with a host of improbable stories about judges and trials past, and representing an approach from a bygone age – namely, that of the Raj.

And as if that’s not enough, there’s the endless battle against the ‘Grey Smoothies’, the humourless grey-suited civil servants who seem determined to drown Charlie in paperwork and strip the court of the last vestiges of civilisation, such as the notorious court canteen. With the connivance of his list officer, Stella, Charlie wages a stealthy rear-guard action against their relentless attacks, but the Grey Smoothies never go away.
No hope of a quiet life for Charlie, and there are times when his real job – trying the challenging criminal cases that come before him – actually seems like light relief.

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.’

No Exit Press

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Publisher: No Exit Press

Publication Date: 23rd November 2017

PB ISBN: 978-1-085730-122-2

Format: B (198 X 129mm)

Extent: 416pp

Price: £8.99