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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down
The worst and best thing I can say is I lost a lot of sleep because I could not put this book down. Even though I am not British, I was able to follow and understand the story as it unfolded. I have had few books in my life stir emotional feelings like this book has. Great Job Peter.
Published on 23 Jan. 2013 by Robert L. Heidrick

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ponderously tedious
I'm a retired lawyer with much the same experience at much the same time as the author. I know I haven't the talent to write a novel, but nor has he. Unsurprisingly, the picture of life at the Bar and in court is drawn with reasonable accuracy, but the plot is scanty and ludicrous, and oh!! the writing ! I cannot recall another book with quite such ponderous and...
Published 17 months ago by Bill Sykes


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down, 23 Jan. 2013
The worst and best thing I can say is I lost a lot of sleep because I could not put this book down. Even though I am not British, I was able to follow and understand the story as it unfolded. I have had few books in my life stir emotional feelings like this book has. Great Job Peter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a very good read!, 19 Jan. 2013
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This was a really good read. Partly I enjoyed it because some of it was set in Cambridge which I found quite nostalgic and more was set in Temple which also held good memories for me. However the best bits were the story lines which were very well executed and held one's attention - a bit of everything, all set in a very credible and understandable legal background which made you see that the lawyers are human too! It allowed me to understand more about legal processes but was fun in the process - I couldn't put it down! I think this book would be great as a TV serialisation and I hope Mr Murphy writes some more very soon!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Insight into the Legal World, 19 Feb. 2014
By 
Mrs. C. Colbert (Blackburn, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Higher Duty, A (Ben Schroeder) (Paperback)
A Higher Duty is an absorbing insight into the world of Barristers, Lawyers, the Law and the games they play.

The story starts in December 1960 with a Rugby Club dinner at Cambridge University when, fuelled by alcohol, some of the students think it's a good idea to throw a young man into the icy cold river......unfortunately for them, and him, he drowns. Afterwards no-one is charged with his murder.

Fast forward to October 1962 and we're introduced to the principal characters, including Philip Dougherty husband to Anne who is being sued for divorce on the grounds of cruelty; the opposing Solicitors and Barristers who are going to represent them in court, along with other members of the Law Society who make up this intriguing novel.

I do enjoy a good courtroom drama and, while, most of the story takes place outside of the courtroom, it makes for fascinating reading.

In those days the law courts were dominated by white male University graduates but Peter Murphy introduces us to the Jewish Ben Schroeder and a woman (gasp) who are trying to break the conventional stereotypes, where they encounter prejudice and become entangled in an intrigue which could make or break their futures.

I enjoyed all the conspiring, manoeuvring and colluding between scheming Barristers.

This is the inside story of what goes on underneath those wigs, tight collars and cloaks and it's not always pretty.

Overall a compelling and entertaining read with an original storyline.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Higher Duty., 14 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Higher Duty, A (Ben Schroeder) (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this novel. It starts in 1960 when due to some drunken antics by a group of Rugby students at Cambridge a student dies. However, Clive Overton, the student responsible escapes prosecution due to his father's position and intervention.
The story then moves on two years to bring in two London law firms . Bernard Wesley's QC's chambers is the main firm where Kenneth Gaskell agrees to act for Anne Dougherty in her divorce. Anne Dougherty is an old friend and since her husband Phillip had not only assaulted her but tried to break into her parents' home, he is confident that she'll get custody of her son Simon. However, Gaskell starts an affair with Anne and her husband's solicitor finds out, giving Miles Overton QC the opportunity to renegotiate terms of the divorce settlement and ruin the reputation of Wesley's chambers.
The main characters in the book are described in detail making them very realistic. Apart from the general story there is an insight into the prejudices of the time and the marked differences between the upper middle classes and their assumptions of the working class. At the time, the judicial system was mainly dominated by white, privileged Oxbridge graduates so the story portrays the pupillage and the progression into chambers of a female Harriet Fisk and a Jewish boy, Ben Schroeder. Therefore, entwined in the main theme of the story, we have some other courtroom cases involving both Harriet and Ben and the discrimination and intimidation highlighted between the main characters in Chambers as they discuss who to offer a place to.
I felt particularly sorry for Arthur Creighton. He gave so much to the Chambers and was respected by so many of his colleagues but when he got into financial difficulties he was given an ultimatum.
I felt the story started quite dramatically with the prank that went tragically wrong and the first five chapters made an excellent introduction to the character of Miles Overton and his sense of superiority to manipulate events.
I also like how this incident is put to one side while the events of the divorce are portrayed but then is reintroduced at a later date by Bernard Wesley QC as he tries desperately to save his Chambers and the careers of his colleagues.
A very interesting story giving an insight into how the legal system and the world of judges, lawyers and solicitors operated in the 1960's. I was keen to read page after page to see how the events unfolded and was intrigued to see how it all ended often reading well into the night.
Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ponderously tedious, 2 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Higher Duty, A (Ben Schroeder) (Paperback)
I'm a retired lawyer with much the same experience at much the same time as the author. I know I haven't the talent to write a novel, but nor has he. Unsurprisingly, the picture of life at the Bar and in court is drawn with reasonable accuracy, but the plot is scanty and ludicrous, and oh!! the writing ! I cannot recall another book with quite such ponderous and pedantic writing. I struggled through to the end in the hope it might improve, but it didn't.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Formal in Style, but Fantastic Imagery, 20 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Higher Duty, A (Ben Schroeder) (Paperback)
5 Words: Formal, jumpy, confusing, interesting, different.

I really wanted to be able to finish this. It was good, really good actually, and totally different from anything I've read before. But it was too slow and a little too formal in style for me.

I was quite confused at times, it felt as though the story jumped around a lot. You'd be introduced to a character and then nothing... Until a little later on when "hello!" they're back. I found myself flipping back to check who I was reading about and what they were like when they were first introduced.

I liked the story-line and how it felt as though I was a fly-on-the-wall in all of these places I could never in my wildest dreams go to. I was there, in the 60s, seeing this law-centred world. The writing is fantastic.

I will give this another go in future, and I know that my mum is really enjoying it.

Thank you to Real Readers, but this wasn't my cup of tea :( Maybe next time?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a gripping read, 11 Oct. 2013
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This book is one of the most enjoyable that I have read this year, so I strongly agree with the praise that has been heaped on it. It is set in the early 1960s, about a decade before the author started out in legal practice himself by my reckoning, and it presents a fairly bleak picture of the bar. The snobbery, the sexism, the Anti-Semitism widespread within the legal profession at that time are presented without mercy. And so is the fundamental lack of integrity among senior barristers whose higher duty sometimes seems to be the protection of 'people of quality' from their social inferiors. My only criticism would be that it is often a bit hard to tell the senior barristers apart and that they lack distinctive personalities - but perhaps that reflects the reality.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Legal Intrigue, 3 April 2014
This review is from: Higher Duty, A (Ben Schroeder) (Paperback)
This is not a book I would have chosen to read normally and it was interesting to read about the background to the legal system through the eyes of the different characters involved.

The story centres on the Chambers of Bernard Wesley QC and is set in the 1960s when times were changing in Britain within the class system and equality of all. A story that started in the days of Oxbridge has a dramatic effect on some characters and the author brings the whole story together at the end of the book.

I did not really enjoy the book as it is not a subject that interests me however it was very well written and you were able to understand each characters viewpoint and background story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tale of the law courts,lawyers and clients, 14 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Higher Duty, A (Ben Schroeder) (Paperback)
I have read most of John Grisham's books and thought I would like this one. I was not disappointed. The story revolves around a college prank that goes terribly wrong. A high price has to be paid by the perpetrator. However, 'strings are pulled' and no one is 'sent down'. We are then treated to the cosy 'gentleman's club' of the legal profession in the 1960's together with their prejudices. The tales of lawyers and their clients are believable and various stories come together in the last chapters. It is a very easy read and at times I had to force myself to put it down because of other pressing engagements. The Higher Duty? Read the book and find out!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Took a while, 18 Mar. 2014
Although it took a little while to get going as we were introduced to the characters, a thoroughly absorbing read about the legal system back in the 60’s. This was a time when our legal system was more like a ‘gentleman’s club’, full of the conventional stereotypical white, privileged graduates complete with all their prejudices. One of the themes of the story is the progression into chambers of a female lawyer and a Jewish male, both of whom encounter a lot of prejudice and discrimination.
There are quite a lot of significant characters in this book and sometimes I did think that maybe there were too many as I was being pulled down too many avenues but by the end all it all came together very well. I was surprised to find that I was sympathetic with some of characters that I didn’t expect to be.
I really enjoyed how the prejudices of the characters were played out and although some of the plots were a little convenient, overall I really enjoyed this book and found it a very interesting read, one of those where I just had to read one more page before putting it down for the night.
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Higher Duty, A (Ben Schroeder)
Higher Duty, A (Ben Schroeder) by Peter Murphy (Paperback - 21 Feb. 2013)
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