William Deverell — Novelist

The official website of William Deverell, Winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing

Do NOT Kill All the Judges

A Review of Whipped (and its Author) by Justice Gilles Renaud, Ontario Court of Justice

From the Provincial Judges’ Journal:

Arthur Ramsgate Beauchamp Q.C. is the greatest barrister found in the world of fiction, with the possible exception of Rumpole! Indeed, this senior member of the Bar is so popular that he cannot retire from practice in order to devote himself to farming on his idyllic isle in B.C., and has been called upon (in prior novels) to defend widows and orphans, reprobates and poor devils, presumed foreign wrongdoers and domestic devils, not to mention his wife in this most recent adventure. And defend them he does, bringing to the task a lifetime of jousting with o’er the hill members of the judiciary, sharp practicing prosecutors and police officers pursuing a conviction notwithstanding a paucity of evidence. How does he succeed? Apparently, all he does is to call forth classical verses instead of a thorough Quicklaw search, to then mainly draw upon his insights into the human condition, heavily influenced by his many shortcomings as a husband, father and would-be roué, in order to cross- examine mendacious witnesses into submission.

If you have not read any of the award-winning books penned by former journalist William Deverell, a background that explains his deft hand with a writing instrument, and his quarter of a century in the dust of the arena defending and prosecuting all manner of cases, notably capital ones, then it is high time you began. And there is no better opportunity than this funny, irreverent, hilarious, and well- thought out account of the travails of a journalist in possession of a videotape capturing a leading politician being flagellated (further details being unnecessary) who turns to our hero for justice, hopefully with costs! All of Deverell’s books demonstrate his mastery as a writer in imagining a principal controversy and intertwining it with a number of related issues, made to come alive by the creation of evocative characters culminating in a court house climax that leaves you, well, fully satisfied…

I look forward each year to the latest contribution to my legal and logical education and suggest that you will learn a great deal about judging the foibles of humanity, notably identifying mendacious witnesses and pompous officials of all kind, by reading this and all other titles in this series. As Dean Wigmore stated, “The [judge] must know human nature … For this knowledge, [you go] to fiction which is the gallery of life’s portraits.”