Cocktails with Molotov and Tea with Mr. Lee by Bernard Brown


Illustrations by Brian Lovelock

ISBN 978-0-9941376-3-0
114PP | 208mm x 142mm
10 illustrations

Part autobiography, part memoir-in-verse, Cocktails with Molotov and Tea with Mr. Lee visits some of the dingier corrugations of world history, from Brown’s childhood in Suffolk, England, where he attended school with London’s notorious Kray Brothers, to intrigues in post-war Russia, true life espionage in the Levant, and Brown’s military service in South-East Asia.

It recalls Brown’s skirmishes with such formidable characters as Margaret Thatcher, author Anthony Burgess, and the ex-Premier of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew (who prompted Brown’s hasty departure from the country).

It is an entertaining romp through thirty years or so of tumultuous world history.

“My supervisor for the criminal papers was the wonderful Bernard Brown. There was something dashing and intriguing about Bernard. He was funny, he wrote poetry, he had an edge to him which made him unlikely ever to be Dean of the Law School.” – David Lange, My Life

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Bernard Brown, long-time teacher of law at Auckland University, was born in feudal Tory Suffolk into a Labour Party household. As a schoolboy army cadet he was seconded as a bandsman to the British Army of the Rhine. Conscripted into the RAF in 1956 (‘Suez Crisis’), he was shunted past Egypt to Singapore where he ‘saw action’ (of a kind) on the streets and in the Malayan jungle. On gaining a local discharge he joined the University of Singapore but, as readers will discern, clashed with ‘the new order’. Before moving on he experienced an RAF Reserve recall ‘on special service’ to Beirut – the exact nature of which continues to puzzle him. The 1960s saw him in New Zealand, Australia and New Guinea (shot by a careless arrow) then back to Auckland. Since then he has spent sabbaticals at universities in Britain, written some books, inc. Sensible Sinning, served on law reform bodies and as a member of the Grimshaw Sargeson Trust. He is a life member of the New Zealand Criminal Bar Association and the Legal Research Foundation. In 2017 he was appointed President of Honour of the New Zealand Society of Authors.