** copy received via publisher **
Author : Peter Murphy
Title : Walden of Bermondsey : Where There’s Smoke
Pages : n/a
Publisher : No Exit Press
Publication date : November 23, 2017
When Charlie Walden took on the job of Resident Judge of the Bermondsey Crown Court, he was hoping for a quiet life. But he soon finds himself struggling to keep the peace between three feisty fellow judges who have very different views about how to do their job, and about how Charlie should do his.
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 its last vestiges of civilisation.
No hope of a quiet life then for Charlie, and there are times when his real job – trying the challenging criminal cases that come before him – actually seems like light relief.
This is probably going to be a short review but that’s okay, because the first case of Charlie Walden is a rather short and quick read as well as it’s a sample designed to give you a taster of what’s to come.
Where There’s Smoke is the first of six cases Resident Judge Walden will be working on. When Charlie took up this position, he was hoping for a quiet life. But that was not to be. Apart from trying to keep the peace between fellow judges, he’s also involved in a daily battle with the “Grey Smoothies”, the civil servants who drown Charlie in paperwork and make life as hard as possible.
The case in front of the judge seems straightforward but is it though? A young man is appearing in court, accused of starting a fire at the local church which results in the building being completely unusable. There’s a witness, Father Stringer, who saw the young man leave the scene of the crime. Case closed. Or not?
This is such a breath of fresh air. Not only does it involve some court action, which I thoroughly enjoy but Charlie and his colleagues are a cast of incredibly fun characters. Some are a little odd and eccentric maybe and it’s easy to see why they don’t always get along but they are all vastly entertaining. I suppose this story would fall into the cosy mystery category. What makes it stand out a bit are the fabulously witty moments and seeing a court through the eyes of a judge instead of a lawyer.
This was a wonderful change of pace from the usual books I tend to read and I really enjoyed meeting Charlie Walden. I’ll definitely be picking up the full novel to follow Charlie and his other cases.
Many thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press!
Walden of Bermondsey was published yesterday!