One Law For The Rest Of Us by Peter Murphy @noexitpress #RandomThingsTours #extract


one law cover (2)

I’m thrilled today to be hosting the blog tour for Peter Murphy’s sixth legal thriller featuring Ben Schroeder One Law For The Rest Of Us. I’ve got a copy of this on my reading pile so I’m looking forward to delving into Ben’s world! So today I’ve got an extract to whet your reading appetite!!

Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on the blog tour!

The Blurb

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…

The Extract

Lancelot Andrewes House is a Church of England boarding school situated in the Cambridgeshire countryside, about five miles from Ely. It is actually two separate schools, one for boys and one for girls; but the two are accommodated in the same building, with strict separation, girls on the left, boys on the right, as you see the building from the road. As a contribution to the war effort, the school had offered to take a limited number of children evacuated from the East End, and had agreed to waive its usual fees. The offer was a generous one, although it was meant to last only until it became safe for us to return to London; and most of the children who had arrived on the bus with me left to go home to Bow and Whitechapel and Stepney and Bethnal Green once our Spitfires had all but banished the Luftwaffe’s bombers from our skies. But Joan and I were orphaned within three days of arriving, and out of sympathy, were immediately told that we could stay and complete our education at Lancelot Andrewes, come what may; and despite everything that happened subsequently, I am still deeply touched by that act of extraordinary kindness.

That same sympathy probably saved Joan and me from the worst of the nastiness many of the East End evacuees experienced at the hands of snobbish school mates, girls who came from richer homes and whose parents could afford the fees. Joan and I seemed to get off relatively lightly. But the richer girls found it fun to laugh at our lack of sophistication, at our Cockney accents and poor diction, at our ignorance of life outside the East End, and at our more shabby clothes: until Matron – a lovely, plump, forty-something, caring but no-nonsense woman called Molly – supplied us with second hand school uniforms, red blazers and grey skirts, grey stockings and black shoes that looked exactly the same as everyone else’s. That wasn’t Matron’s only kindness, by any means. Somehow – looking back on it, I’m pretty sure she must have had a whip-round among the staff – she found us some weekly pocket money: not as much as the richer girls had, of course, but enough to allow us to patronise the school tuck shop; and to hold our own when we were allowed to go for tea and cakes in the High Street after our monthly school service in Ely cathedral. As we all got used to each other, and as most of the London children returned home, the worst of the childish prejudices faded away. Joan and I made friends, some of whom I’m still in contact with today, and we were sometimes even invited to their homes for school holidays.

I’m grateful, too, despite everything, for the education I received at Lancelot Andrewes. I settled without too much restlessness into the daily routine of prayers, classes and games, and the discipline did me good. I think it did Joan good, too. It structured our grieving for our parents, and it gave form to our new life without them, without the only home we had ever known; it enabled us to avoid the temptation of clinging exclusively to each other, of erecting barriers against the rest of the world to defend ourselves from the pain. The staff were dedicated teachers, who, unusually for the time, expected the same high academic standards of the girls as they did of the boys, with the result that the school was continually breaking national records for the number of girls gaining university places.

Joan left Lancelot Andrewes at the age of eighteen to study History at Edinburgh, and I followed in her footsteps five years later, to read English. After graduation, as a twenty-one-year-old woman with no other plans for her life, I decided to stay with Joan in Edinburgh. By then, she already held a responsible administrative position with the Royal Bank of Scotland, where she was highly thought of; so much so that at her request, her manager offered me a job too, on a similar career path. We shared an upstairs flat in a lovely old Georgian town house in the New Town district.

We lived and worked together, happily as far as I could tell, for almost four years: until one Saturday afternoon, when I got back from the shops and the library, I found her lifeless body hanging from the staircase on the attic floor above our flat. I’d had no idea, not the slightest indication, that she’d had any thoughts about taking her own life. She was always quiet, and could be rather reserved, even with me. But she was doing well at work and there was a young man she seemed to like who was paying attention to her. I hadn’t detected any change in her mood. But there she was, hanging there. Dead.

She’d left me a note. It said: ‘I’m sorry, Audrey. I wanted to stop it, but I couldn’t.’ At the time, I didn’t understand what she meant. If I had, I might perhaps have saved her: and, in a sense, and to some extent, myself.

Who Is Peter Murphy?

Peter Murphy Author Pic

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 is also the author of Walden 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 Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio Manchester this summer as part of promotion for his Walden of Bermondsey series.

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