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The Collected Stories of Rumpole (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

John Mortimer
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Horace Rumpole - witty, eloquent, dishevelled and cynical - is one of fiction's best-loved barristers-at-law. In these twenty classic tales, Rumpole battles through the Old Bailey, whether defending various members of an incompetent South London crime family, taking on haute-cuisine chefs and showfolk or mocking the pomposity of his own profession, all the while being held in check by his wife, Hilda: the wonderful, fearsome She Who Must Be Obeyed.



These collected stories, in Penguin Modern Classics for the first time, are a definitive introduction to one of the wisest and wittiest characters in British comic writing and a reminder of what justice should really be about. With a new introduction by Sam Leith, former literary editor of the Daily Telegraph and contributor to the Evening Standard, Guardian and Spectator.


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Review

I thank Heaven for small mercies. The first of these is Rumpole (Clive James)

Rumpole is simply one of the great fictional characters of modern English literature (Marcel Berlin Sunday Times)

The best mock heroic fatty since Falstaff (Alan Coren)

About the Author

John Mortimer (1923-2009) was a novelist, playwright and barrister. Among his many publications are several volumes of Rumpole stories and a trilogy of political novels (Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained, and The Sound of Trumpets) featuring Leslie Titmuss. Sir John received a CBE in 1986 and a knighthood for his services to the arts in 1998. Sam Leith is the former literary editor of the Daily Telegraph, and the author of the novels The Coincidence Engine and Daddy, is Timmy in Heaven Now? He writes regularly for the Evening Standard, Guardian, and Spectator.

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More About the Author

Sir John Mortimer was a playwright, novelist and former practising barrister. During the war he worked with the Crown Film Unit and published a number of novels, before turning to theatre. He wrote many film scripts, and plays both for radio and television, including A Voyage Round My Father, the Rumpole plays, which won him the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.

Mortimer wrote four volumes of autobiography, including Clinging to the Wreckage and Where There's a Will (2003). His novels include the Leslie Titmuss trilogy, about the rise of an ambitious Tory MP: Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained and The Sound of Trumpets, and the acclaimed comic novel, Quite Honestly (2005). He also published numerous books featuring his best-loved creation Horace Rumpole, including Rumpole and the Primrose Path (2002) and Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders (2004). All these books are available in Penguin.

Sir John Mortimer received a knighthood for his services to the arts. His authorized biography, A Voyage Around John Mortimer, written by Valerie Grove, is also published by Penguin (2007).

Sir John Mortimer passed away on January 16, 2009.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
The misleading title may cause prospective buyers to think that this anthology represents the complete works of Rumpole. It does not. Instead we are offered yet another re-packaging of a selection of stories, in this case 20. This may be a good introduction to Rumpole for the uninitiated, but then so are all of the original collections and preexisting anthologies.

A total of 81 original Rumpole stories have been published in book form. Of these 77 are short stories (some VERY short) and 4 are novel-length tales. This does not include the scarcely-begun final story that Mortimer abandoned due to terminal illness and published in the last anthology before this "Forever Rumpole." There do remain, however, a tiny handful of brief stories originally published in periodicals or read out on radio broadcasts through the years that have never been collected in book form.

The world still awaits the publication of the "complete" Rumpole.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twenty Great Tales 9 July 2013
By M. Dowden HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I have always been indebted to my late great gran, who first introduced me to Rumpole via the tv series when I stayed with her one summer holiday break when about twelve years old. Since then I went on to read many of the books from the library, and have enjoyed them and the tv series (Rumpole is currently being shown on the Drama channel) many times.

Horace Rumpole can usually be found in Chambers, in the Law Courts, or taking a glass or two in Pommeroy's Wine Bar, and of course at home with She Who Must Be Obeyed, his wife Hilda. As Rumpole will point out himself, he is just an Old Bailey Hack, with no aspirations to take Silk, or eventually work up to the Bench. For Rumpole he is happy enough just carrying on defending his clients, although his wife would like to see him get further in the profession.

Of course you have Rumpole with his more normal cases, such as representing the Timson family, who give him most probably his major income, but also other cases as well, of course having to put up with judges, such as 'Mad Bull' Bullingham all the time. Indeed, the names that Rumpole comes up with for his colleagues in the law are memorable, as so are the stories, which also include here his being threatened with disbarring. Rumpole seems to be as much of the establishment than any real person you can think of, and his tales are fascinating as well as having a very good dose of humour.

This book makes an ideal starting point to someone coming to Rumpole for the first time, as well as being great to have a collection of great stories for fans in one book (or indeed the ebook which you can easily carry around with you).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic and Timeless Vignettes of English Life 31 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
John Mortimer was a barrister, playwright and eccentric English character. The character of Rumpole of the Bailey was partly based on himself, part on his equally eccentric father. He began writing these stories relatively late in life, but we should all thank God that he did because he brought one of the most entertaining literary creations of all time to life.

Rumpole is up there with the great English literary creations like Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown. While there is often a serious message behind the stories, the telling of them was never serious, and Mortimer managed to get his point across through his humour and his wit.
Mortimer died in 2009 so, sadly, there will be no more Rumpole stories. Yet he has left a legacy behind that will be enjoyed by succeeding generations just like Conan Doyle or G K Chesterton.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having remembered with affection the television adaptation with Leo McKern as the irascible barrister, it was just a pleasure to read this collection of Rumpolia . If you are of a certain age and like a glass of claret then this is the book for you. You might also have a 'she who must be obeyed' so if you do, you will be completely at home with this collection of hilarious stories about the 'hack of the Old Bailey'
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Rumpole is like a warm blanket that wraps around you and then all is well with the world. However when you do get into a real
court it makes real life Barristers look like the inarticulate fools they are.
So sad that there are no new stories- but the old ones re-read every 3/4 years keeps me going.
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