In Bloomsbury Magistrate’s Court, stipendiary magistrate Donald Ferney reigned supreme. Ferney sought to acquire the public image of the ‘kindly magistrate’ and his remarks, even his judgements, were sometimes aimed at the local reporters present in court.

But among those who knew him better, Mr Ferney was not loved. He had, indeed, made many enemies in all departments of his life, in particular among the permanent staff who served at his court …

‘Among Mr Underwood’s best’ P. D. James