From the cases of Michael Fagan and other Buckingham Palace intruders to those of West End pickpockets, over-zealous preachers, ‘saucy’ prostitutes and cockroaches in the kitchens of one of London’s most prestigious clubs, Bow Street Beak is a roller-coaster ride through the judicial career of stipendiary magistrate Ronald Bartle at the iconic Bow Street Magistrates’ Court.
It takes a candid look at the often tragic world of the criminal offender but with the kind of humour that stems from pricking the skin of normally rigid, formal and sometimes daunting institutions. From the eccentric behaviour of court ‘regulars’ to the ordeal of the clang of the cell door and steps to the dock for the businessmen and others whose careers are at an end from momentary lapses, the book is an acutely observed social record of legal, criminal and everyday London life. At a time when Bow Street court no longer exists and there are questions about the building’s future, Bow Street Beak is a record of a fine heritage and a life in the law well spent.
Thoroughly entertaining. By one of the UK’s best-known stipendiary magistrates (now district judges). Contains reflections on the nature and purpose of the criminal law and sentencing. Features cases that made the headlines. A study in human nature. From famous cases to London low life.
‘Her Majesty was interested to read your reminiscences, and has directed that the copy be held in the library at Windsor’— Chief Correspondence Officer, Buckingham Palace
‘A charming book dealing with an interesting life and some very tough subjects’— Amazon reviewer
‘The human side in the book is very enjoyable to read but most memorable will be the cases of the Guildford Four and extradition of General Pinochet’— georgeemsden.co.uk
Ronald Bartle was Deputy Chief Stipendiary Magistrate for Inner London. His books include The Telephone Murder: The Mysterious Death of Julia Wallace (2012); The Police Witness: A Guide to Presenting Evidence in Court (1984 onwards) and Three Cases that Shook the Law (Waterside Press, 2016).