Today it is my great pleasure to be joining the blog tour for One Law For The Rest Of Us by Peter Murphy, the sixth book in the Ben Schroeder series. A big thank you to publisher No Exit Press for providing an advance review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the tour. Here is what the book is all about.
When Audrey Marshall sends her daughter Emily to the religious boarding school where she herself was educated a generation before, memories return – memories of a culture of child sexual abuse presided over by a highly-regarded priest. Audrey turns to barrister Ben Schroeder in search of justice for Emily and herself. But there are powerful men involved, men determined to protect themselves at all costs. Will they succeed? Is there indeed one law for the rich and powerful, and one law for…?
One Law For the Rest of Us is a very timely and cleverly plotted legal thriller featuring Barrister Ben Schroeder. This time, Ben and his colleague, Ginny Castle, are asked to represent Audrey Marshall and her daughter, Emily, who have made some very damning allegations of abuse against some powerful people, including members of the clergy, former parliamentarians and peers of the realm. The facts of the case are hard to prove, especially in Audreys case, her statement coming some thirty years after the alleged abuse took place. It is an almost impossible task that ben faces, but he is determined to see justice done for Audrey. But at what cost?
Now this is only the second book in this series I have actually read but have to admit that I really do enjoy it and have a bit of a soft spot for Ben Schroeder. This is a first for Ben, sitting on the side of the prosecution rather than the defence, but he still attacks the case with his usual determination, in spite of those who would advise him not to for the sake of his career. He is a man who will fight for what he believes is right, and you can’t help but respect him. That and his relationship with his colleagues, in particular Ginny and Audrey’s solicitor, Julia Cathermole, which helps to elevate this to a real ensemble piece in which all characters have a very important part to play.
This book is set in the 1970’s in which cases such as Audrey’s were very quickly swept under the carpet, something which is reflected perfectly in the book itself. We are all aware of the scandals which had rocked the celebrity world over the past few years, much of which dated back to the 70s and 80s, making this book all the more believable. The way in which the rich and powerful, and even the authorities, seemed to wield enough influence to get cases to stall is all too real, and sadly, as the current ‘me too’ movement shows, still all too prevalent, making this book very topical indeed.
There are elements where child abuse is discussed and for many this will be hard to read. It is not gratuitous but you do need to bear in mind that this is a legal thriller and we follow the process from the early reports, the arrest and through the very lengthy and complicated trial, in which it is impossible not to touch upon what has happened. I liked the way in which the author has portrayed the young daughter, Emily, with such a determined strength, as it made if easier to read the parts in which she featured, and yet the lingering impact n Audrey is not so easily forgotten. This is recounted to the reader in Audrey’s voice, her realisation of why she has been so reticent about physical relationships echoing what has happened in her story over all. These parts are quite direct, Audrey’s choice of language a stark contrast to that of the privileged few she is accusing.
There is a real sense of authenticity in this book, derived from the author’s own experiences, and for me it makes these books fascinating. It is not the fastest book in terms of pacing but I wouldn’t expect it to be, and if you do not like protracted legal scenes then this isn’t really going to be the book for you. If, like me, you are intrigued about what happens in a courtroom, about the pomp and circumstance which accompanies such a trial, then this is a brilliant read. Yes, it is slightly historical, but aside from a few changes in permissible evidence which may have occurred over the years (and the author does discuss this at the end of the book), the basic process of prosecution has changed very little.
This book frustrated me and enthralled me in equal measure. It was a book I took my time over to ensure that I could take in all that was happening, not just from the progression of the case, but the investigation as a whole. I found myself angry at times, resigned at others, but overwhelmingly satisfied by the ending and the resolution that Audrey got in spite of all of the road blocks which had been placed in her way. If you have ever wondered what might have happened if Jimmy Saville and co had actually been tackled back in the 70s … well, sadly, I don’t think this would have been far from the truth. We should be thankful we now live in slightly more enlightened times.
If you would like a copy of One Law For The Rest Of Us, it is available now from the following retailers:
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 HoneyStill For Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr and Calling Down the Storm. He is also the author ofWalden of Bermondsey and Judge Walden: Back in Session and Judge Walden: Call The Next Case, which is due to be published in 2019.
Peter Murphy will be appearing on BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Cambridge, BBC Radio West Midlands, BBC RadioNewcastle and BBC radio Manchester this summer as part of promotion for his Walden of Bermondsey series.
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