#BlogTour #Extract Judge Walden : Call The Next Case by Peter Murphy
Series: Judge Walden, 3
Publisher: No Exit Press
Available: 2nd May 2019
Genre: Mystery / Crime / Fiction
The third Judge Walden novel.
“If you like Rumpole of the Bailey, you’ll love Walden of Bermondsey.” – Charlie Walden.
the irrepressible Resident Judge (RJ) of Bermondsey Crown Court is back with a new selection of cases. As ever, there is little rest for the RJ as he does his best to deal with the churchgoing carer who steals from the old lady under her care, the cleaverwielding chefs wth different ideas about how to make a Caesar salad, the man with a penchant for ‘marrying’ multiple women and the astrological guru accused of fraud. Not to mention the shock-horror when colleagues get into trouble: Judge Hubert Drake for writing an angry letter to the press, and Judge Marjorie Jenkins for storing suspected pornography on her judicial computer. Oh, and the ongoing wars against the Grey Smoothies, who try to frustrate Charlie at every turn with their bureaucracy and their endless quest for value for money for the taxpayer.
FEELING ONE’S AGE
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn…
Like Antonio in Venice, I arrive at court in Bermondsey this morning in a rather subdued mood. It’s a beautiful spring day, and I have all my usual comforts – my latte from Jeanie and Elsie’s coffee and sandwich bar in the archway near London Bridge and my copy of The Times from George’s newspaper stand nearby. But neither the aroma of the latte nor the fresh, cool breeze blowing up off the river dispels the mist entirely. While I do hold the world as a stage where every man must play a part, I don’t often see my part as a sad one; and unlike Antonio, I’m pretty sure how I caught it, found it, or came by it. Every year at about this time, my good wife, the Reverend Mrs Walden, priest-in-charge of the church of St Aethelburgh and All Angels in the diocese of Southwark, declares a week to be ‘Remember the Elderly Week’. During Remember the Elderly Week everyone has to be nice to anyone older than they are: so we have all manner of events going on in and around the church for our senior citizens – Take your Nan to Church Day, coffee afternoons in the vicarage, bingo evenings in the church hall, slide shows with reminiscences of Bermondsey in the old days – all of them featuring parishioners full of years, escorted by relatives who would never ordinarily darken the door of a church, and who look bored and out of place. The Reverend Mrs Walden is wonderful with them: she can chat away for hours about the old days, and about their families, and about how things aren’t what they used to be, and about how the country’s going to the dogs, without sounding in any way patronising.
It’s a gift I haven’t been blessed with, I’m afraid. I’m not sure why. Obviously, I have nothing against the elderly: it’s a condition we all face in life barring a worse alternative, and I flatter myself that I can have a decent one-on-one conversation with any elderly person. But I just can’t relax when they descend on the vicarage in their hordes. Perhaps it’s the inevitable stark confrontation with impending decline – mine as well as theirs. Perhaps it’s because I’m only too well aware that some counsel who appear in my court consider me to have reached that stage of life already, my modest age in the mid-sixties notwithstanding, simply because I wear the judicial robe. But whatever the reason, sitting through two services for which the elderly turn out en masse with their minders isn’t my favourite way to spend my Sunday.
Yesterday too, I was aware of the trial I’m starting this morning, and it’s enough to depress even the most cheerful of souls. The Reverend Mrs Walden, rounding off the Week in her climactic Sunday evening sermon, was exhorting the parish to take better care of the elderly: to make sure they are kept safe, are enabled to attend church, and have enough human contact to prevent loneliness and isolation. But my mind was drifting to a different kind of human contact the elderly may encounter in church – and it’s one they need to be protected from rather than exposed to. In my case, the human contact is a woman called Laura Catesby, and her victim is a ninety-two-year-old widow by the name of Muriel Jones. Reflecting on Remember the Elderly Week, I can’t help thinking that my reaction to it has a lot to do with my fear that somewhere down the road, when the Reverend and I are in our dotage and have been put out to pasture, we may fall victim to something similar ourselves.
Age and frailty, I reflect, can make a Muriel Jones of any of us. I suppose I’ve reached the point where I’m beginning to feel my age.
About The Author:
Peter Murphy was born in 1946. After graduating from Cambridge University he spent a career in the law, as an advocate and teacher, both in England and the United States. His legal work included a number of years in The Hague as defence counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal. He lives with his wife, Chris, in Cambridgeshire.