31.8.11

Book recommendation: 'A Married Man' by Piers Paul Read


Every August, barrister John Strickland leaves London for the annual holiday at his wife Clare's family home in Norfolk. This year, on a lazy summer s afternoon Strickland, reads something that changes his life for good. All that Strickland has accepted as the way things are, for good or bad, is turned on its head. In a few short months he turns from middle-class lawyer into socialist MP, from loving husband to adulterer and more. Until one of his more cruel mid-life fantasies is brought to life - and John Strickland finds that despite everything he is and always will be a married man.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

24.8.11

Book recommendation: 'Flashman' by George MacDonald Fraser


The first instalment of the Flashman Papers sees the fag-roasting rotter from Tom Brown's Schooldays commence his military career as a reluctant secret agent in Afghanistan. Expelled from Rugby for drunkenness, and none too welcome at home after seducing his father's mistress, the young Flashman embarks on a military career with Lord Cardigan's Hussars. En route to Afghanistan, our hero hones his skills as a soldier, duellist, imposter, coward and amorist (mastering all 97 ways of Hindu love-making during a brief sojourn in Calcutta), before being pressed into reluctant service as a secret agent. His Afghan adventures culminate in a starring role in that great historic disaster, the Retreat from Kabul.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

19.8.11

Article on TotallyLegal.com


Very many thanks to TotallyLegal for letting me talk about my new book Law and Peace. You can read it here or below, and you can buy the book on Amazon.

Having written my first BabyBarista novel Law and Disorder a little while back, last year I was faced with the task of writing book two. This came as more of a challenge than the first given that I couldn’t simply use the stresses and strains of pupillage to drive the plot along and instead had to look to other themes and stories. In the end, I did just what I’d done in book one and let the characters loose to tell their own stories.

What eventually came out was Law and Peace, published by Bloomsbury this May and which thankfully has garnered some decent reviews with The Daily Maildescribing it as “highly recommended” and a “funny, sharp account of backstabbing Bar life” and broadcaster Jeremy Vine calling it “a novel bursting with invention”.

The book follows BabyBarista’s second year in chambers in which as the newest tenant in chambers, he must face down old enemies, try to win compensation for a group of ASBO-attracting pensioners and unravel the complicated knots of his love life, not to mention his mother's finances.

Under the wise and watchful eye of OldRuin, he tries to keep his nose (and his wig) clean, but when SlipperySlope, an unscrupulous solicitor offers him a quick way out of his financial difficulties he soon becomes embroiled in blackmail, dodgy share-dealing and the dark arts of litigation.

With his old adversary TopFirst out for revenge and the chance to be awarded a coveted ‘red bag’ at stake, BabyB has to use all the tricks of his trade to extricate himself from his legal quagmire, win the case for his mad old clients, and somehow convince his best friend to fall in love with him.

One of the themes that comes out of the book is BabyBarista’s preoccupation with work and his failing to give enough time to his friends, family and other things which make him happy. In the end, it’s the example of others who show him the way with the old people taking him skateboarding and a friend of theirs introducing him to surfing as well as OldRuin, Claire and his mother emphasising the importance of love and friendship.

It’s something which I’ve had time to reflect on myself having spent ten years at the Bar in London before taking what has become a prolonged break to move down to the sea in North Devon. This has allowed me to return to the much simpler country way of life that I had known as a child with time to get out into the surf and the countryside as well as to settle into the local community.

I guess the thing about legal life is that it doesn’t necessarily need to end up being over-worked and stressful. But in a profession that bills itself out by the hour, there’s an inherent risk of it producing a tendency to commoditise what might be our most precious possession, that of time itself. As BabyBarista discovers, it certainly doesn’t have to be like that and during the course of the book he slowly starts to return to the things that really matter.

17.8.11

Book recommendation: 'Anatomy of a Murder' by Imogen Robertson


The streets of London seethe with rumour and conspiracy as the King's navy battles the French at sea. And while the banks of the Thamesswarm with life, a body is dragged from its murky waters. In another part of town, where the air seems sweeter, the privileged enjoy a brighter world of complacent wealth and intoxicating celebrity. But as society revels in its pleasures, a darker plot is played out.
Yet some are willing to look below the surface to the unsavoury depths. Mrs Harriet Westerman believes passionately in justice. Reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther is fascinated by the bones beneath the skin. Invited to seek the true nature of the dead man, they risk censure for an unnatural interest in murder. But when the safety of a nation is at stake, personal reputation must give way to the pursuit of reason and truth.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

10.8.11

Book recommendation: 'Bleak House' by Charles Dickens


With an Introduction and Notes by Doreen Roberts, University of Kent at Canterbury and illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz), "Bleak House" is one of Dickens' finest achievements, establishing his reputation as a serious and mature novelist, as well as a brilliant comic writer. It is at once a complex mystery story that fully engages the reader in the work of detection, and an unforgettable indictment of an indifferent society. Its representations of a great city's underworld, and of the law's corruption and delay, draw upon the author's personal knowledge and experience. But it is his symbolic art that projects these things in a vision that embraces black comedy, cosmic farce, and tragic ruin. In a unique creative experiment, Dickens divides the narrative between his heroine, Esther Summerson, who is psychologically interesting in her own right, and an unnamed narrator whose perspective both complements and challenges hers.

Available from Amazon.co.uk

9.8.11

Sponsored blog post: Roundabout accidents – safer biking

Riding a bike can be exhilarating, but it also carries with it some challenges, particularly when it comes to navigating road junctions. Roundabouts, according to the figures, are one of the most dangerous types of road junction for bikers. Often motorbike accident claims involving a roundabout and another vehicle will end with the biker coming off worse.If you have been involved in an accident at a roundabout in the past, or you feel you could do with some help when navigating roundabouts, then there are some steps you can take to make your riding experience safer. When planning your route around the roundabout, try to keep the time you are leaning over on your bike as short as possible. Straighter routes mean you have to spend less time on the roundabout and allow you to take the shortest route from your entry point to your chosen exit. However it is important to take into consideration the traffic levels, as heavy traffic might mean you have to take a more circuitous route.

On your approach to the roundabout, position your bike based on the exit you intend to take. So if you are going to take an exit to the right hand side of the roundabout, you should move near to the centre of the road as you approach the roundabout. Similarly, if you are taking a left hand exit, keep to the left hand side of the road as you approach.

Of course, there are many more tips for safer biking, including more information on motorbike roundabout accidents available at our dedicated motorbike claims website. To find out what to do if you have had an accident whilst out on your bike, visit Motorbike Accident Law.

Author: Neil Worrall

3.8.11

Book recommendation: 'The Case of the Velvet Claws' by Erle Stanley Gardner


Thanks to a bungled robbery at a fancy hotel, the already-married Eva Griffin has been caught in the company of a prominent congressman. To protect the politico, Eva's ready to pay the editor of a sleazy tabloid his hush money. But Perry Mason has other plans. He tracks down the phantom fat cat who secretly runs the blackmailing tabloid -- only to discover a shocking scoop.

By the time Mason's comely client finally comes clean, her husband has taken a bullet in the heart. Now Perry Mason has two choices: represent the cunning widow in her wrangle for the dead man's money -- or take the rap for murder.

Available from Amazon.co.uk