From ‘Scuttle’ to ‘C.H.A.S.E.’

Original cover photograph by Francesco Ungaro

Brian wrote this maritime thriller a few years before he retired in 1987. The eminent literary agents to whom he sent the typescript (A.P. Watt) thought it ‘smashing’, and were confident that it would be printed. But publishers rejected it as not having enough sex or violence to be marketed as a thriller, and Brian either could not or would not try to amend his text. Besides, by then he was more interested in writing poetry.

‘Scuttle’ was Brian’s working title for this novel, and his family know what scuttling is: the deliberate sinking of a ship. The maritime lawyer’s task is to determine whether the ensuing claim for compensation is honourable. Often, it is not. But to too many people ‘scuttling’ suggests a small animal running across the floor, so Brian’s title has been changed. The new one was suggested by his second son, Andrew.

The full book is available to download here for free.

C.H.A.S.E. was highly praised on its first publication in 2019. Some excerpts below.

From Sir Paul Walker, former maritime barrister and retired High Court Judge:

‘ C.H.A.S.E. is not merely a thrilling novel. It is full of thoughtful insights into the hows and whys of maritime fraud, and the compromises which may have to be made when countering it. The author’s long experience in sniffing out and stymying such frauds gives this gripping and colourful tale an unsurpassed authenticity. Highly recommended!’

From His Hon Anthony Hallgarten QC, former maritime lawyer:

‘A taut thriller, exploring the murkier side of the maritime industry, with a beguiling young lawyer as hero.”

From Brian Williamson, master mariner and former maritime lawyer:

‘It was a delight to pore over the exploits of Alan Hopkins in this so true-to-life maritime thriller of the age, with a legal twist. As the scruples of the maritime industry of the 1970-80s in the Eastern Mediterranean are no longer recognisable, Brian Waltham has to be congratulated for preserving this bit of maritime legal history. Almost every page transported me back, somewhat nostalgically, to my days with the ‘other’ firm of maritime lawyers in The City, usually acting for the opposition … it has all the features of a real insurance scam of the period.’