Mulberry Finch review the BabyBarista series of books

Very many thanks to Henry Oliver at Mulberry Finch for reviewing my book Law and Peace. You can read the review  Mulberry Finch   or below. You can buy the book on amazon.
“If you want to relax on Boxing Day by laughing at your lawyer (a great way to let all that pent-up anger out), then you can’t do better than reading Tim Kevan’s excellent Baby Barista books. For those who are as yet uninitiated, this is the latest addition the twentieth/twenty-first century genre of legal fiction. Rumpole is the most well known, having been made into a television series; and at the other, more serious end of the scale, is the set of novels about an Edwardian family headed by a City solicitor, The Forsyte Saga. (People interested in more details of legal fiction can find a good selection in this blog by Simon Myerson.) Writing and the bar go hand in hand: John Mortimer and John Galsworthy were both at the bar; one wrote because he hated it, the other because he couldn’t get any briefs. Tim Kevan has had an altogether more successful legal career. He practised for ten years, being described as having “an unsurpassed knowledge of the law.” But he now lives by the sea. His day job, as well as running a legal training business, is to write brief sketches for his blog (published by The Guardian). The best recent example is his wonderful skit on Collective Nouns for Lawyers. Whether he was disenchanted with law, or compelled to write doesn’t matter. He is seriously funny. Like all the best comic novels the real wit comes from the trumped-up but still accurate  dialogue. The main character is our duplicitous narrator: he looks and sounds like an innocent, struggling but ambitious, young lawyer. We instinctively sympathise with the perils of the bar faced by young pupils, and want our hero to succeed whatever the cost. But we realise that the cost is high. He is not as green as he looks: devious schemes, and underhand tactics, cheating, and getting through scrapes provide all the fun and thrills in the plot. And it is all held together in the great non-villain of the lead character. Even his young, innocent name (Baby Barista), which is misspelled so as to try and emphasise a complete lack of malevolence in his character, is an act of deceit; it hides his ability to be devastatingly self-interested. But good for him we cheer! He is surrounded by greedy, grasping, horrid lawyers, all of them as cunning and mendacious as he is – but not as likeable. This is a well paced, crisply written, funny book that shows the gloomy side of the law without being cynical or ignoring the better bits. If you’ve ever sympathised with Shakespeare when he said, “First thing we do? Let’s kill all the lawyers!” then this pair of novels is the perfect stocking filler for you.”

January 12, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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