Judge Charles Walden resides at Bermondsey Crown Court and in this second book in the Walden of Bermondsey series, he presents us with five cases – and so much more! From his copious and many dinners with his spouse, invariably mentioned as ‘the Reverent Mrs Walden’, to the inner court dealings and the ‘Grey Smoothies’ in this humorous, sometimes sarcastic, but always informative as to the depths of human nature, insightful and delicious book!
Walden of Bermondsey #2
Bermondsey, the London-based town, has its own court with Judge Charles Walden in residence. With our beloved judge, what can go wrong? Apparently, quite a number of things. The five cases described are not the only things worrying the judge… there are adultery and theft, records and recitals, obviously guilty parties wanting their day in court (and what will the Grey Smoothes think of that?!), there is a French connection and an old war relic and then we have the daily lunches, “oases of calm in a desert of chaos.”
After having passed an agreeable weekend with his dear lady, the Reverend Mrs Walden, with a nice Italian dinner on Saturday and a not too solemn sermon by his dear lady on Sunday, our judge starts the new week with a lovely walk to court. Including, of course, stopping at his favourite latte ladies, Jeanie and Elsie. Upon arriving in court, however, his enthusiasm and positiveness disappear when he hears the defendant will represent himself. This means more work for the judge, a longer trial and intricately more complex since now, the judge has to take the defendant by has, so to speak, to ensure the latter knows his rights and how to use them. Luncheon is not the usual “oasis of calm” when our judge realises something is happening at another case – something that needs his attention and possibly, his ruling.
As the day proceeds, the case becomes clear to us and our judge. But how to handle this delicate matter before the ‘Grey Smoothies’ hear of it? Too late, I’m afraid but our judge receives a wonderful, be it a little irregular, advice on the matter… As the weeks proceed, we see our judge handling all sorts of cases with dignity, an outer calmness (although his inner thoughts are.. struggling sometimes!) and a practised impartial ruling of his court. His spare time is spent agreeably with his spouse, eating out or dining in but never without a glass of wine. There are visitors and discoveries, the Minister and the ‘Grey Smoothies’ trying to intervene proceedings to ensure the ‘taxpayer gets his worth’ and it turns out to be our judge is a master in the art of diplomacy…
So this book is the first I have ever read about Judge Charles Walden – and I must say I loved it! The humour always shining through, the way he handles the ‘Grey Smoothies’, his daily lattes and many, many dinners with the Reverent Mrs Walden – the writing is excellent and the backgrounds provided great to get us into the stories. Sometimes, it’s the prosecutor’s summing up that tells it all. Sometimes you feel there is too much detail but most of the times, I just wanted to see how this case would end. What is great is, that the Judge never shows any prejudice, even if he utters a few comments. The only thing that bugged me a bit were the constant mentioning of lunching time as ‘an oasis of calm in a desert of chaos’ and the extensive descriptions of food, dining and wining at restaurants. Truly a world where money hardly plays a role, even if he sips the occasional Lidle wine during home-made dinners.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with Peter Murphy’s engaging and entertaining book, the descriptions of both the characters and the proceedings at court are wonderful and you almost feel you’re part of the process at times! The Reverent Mrs Walden – she sounds like a fascinating character even if the judge only describes her in a more formal way. I love how she expresses her opinions and how loyal and open-minded she is! It sounds like the judge has no idea of the passionate woman his wife is – don’t say I didn’t warn him!
The Walden of Bermondsey series consists of:
#1 Walden of Bermondsey
#2 Judge Walden Back in Session
About the Author
Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He has written seven novels: two political thrillers about the US presidency, Removal and Test of Resolve; five historical/legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, A Higher Duty, A Matter for the Jury, And is there Honey still for Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr and Calling Down the Storm. He lives in Cambridgeshire.
|Publisher||No Exit Press (24 May 2018)|