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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumpole fights on
Horace Rumpole is to me a familiar friend of many years standing, news of whose exploits I eagely await. This familiarity is re-inforced by the book cover's caricature drawing of Leo Mckern's TV portrayal. This is a typical Rumpole tale used to great effect by Mortimer to take a side swipe at not only the reactionary policies of a reactionary government, but also to...
Published on 13 Oct 2007 by Rawdon Cavalier

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time for retirement?
For thirty years and over seventy tales John Mortimer has kept readers entertained and enlightened with his stories of the crusty old barrister, Horace Rumpole, and his dedication to the finest principles of British law. In doing so he has maintained for so long an astonishingly high level of imagination and invention, but to judge from the latest offering it may at last...
Published on 16 Mar 2007 by R. Burgess


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumpole fights on, 13 Oct 2007
This review is from: Rumpole and the Reign of Terror (Paperback)
Horace Rumpole is to me a familiar friend of many years standing, news of whose exploits I eagely await. This familiarity is re-inforced by the book cover's caricature drawing of Leo Mckern's TV portrayal. This is a typical Rumpole tale used to great effect by Mortimer to take a side swipe at not only the reactionary policies of a reactionary government, but also to remind the bleeding heart liberals that in truth there really are some very bad people out there. Horace Rumpole of course is gifted with the all knowing eye so that under the withering gaze of old fashioned forensic advocacy, the truth will out and the innocent are saved. There is also a nice coup de plume as Rumpole's memoirs are intertwined with the memoirs of Mrs Rumpole. I do not know if the book has enough substance to win new fans, but there is plenty here to satisfy the existing ones and on that basis I give it top marks.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time for retirement?, 16 Mar 2007
By 
R. Burgess (London UK) - See all my reviews
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For thirty years and over seventy tales John Mortimer has kept readers entertained and enlightened with his stories of the crusty old barrister, Horace Rumpole, and his dedication to the finest principles of British law. In doing so he has maintained for so long an astonishingly high level of imagination and invention, but to judge from the latest offering it may at last be time to put the warhorse out to grass.

'Rumpole and the Reign of Terror' tells an unlikely story drawn out to book length of a Pakistani doctor framed on terrorist charges, a victim of the government's abolition of normal procedures of justice in its fight against the forces of terror. In fact the book seems little more than a pretext for Mortimer to sound off against current abuses of law.

Few of Rumpole's familiar and endearing character traits emerge here, the plot creaks and improbabilities abound: Rumpole's formidable wife is even made to write her own memoirs on a laptop in the boxroom of their Gloucester Road mansion flat and conduct a half-clandestine romance with Rumpole's arch-foe, the 'Mad Bull' Judge Bullingham.

Rumpole fans will still want to read this and enjoy it, but maybe, Sir John, it is time for you and Rumpole to rest on your laurels? You have given us much delight and we cannot reasonably expect more.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The old maestro has not lost his touch, 11 Nov 2006
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This is a delight - Rumpole and his work brought bang up to date, and this time with wonderful interjections from the memoirs of Hilda, who has doughtily locked herself into the box room to pound a laptop.

Rumpole's defending of a possible terrorist suspect, the familiar insouciance, the refusal to meekly go along with changes to the legal system, are related as sharply and as readably as ever.

Mr Mortimer has certainly not lost his touch, and neither has Rumpole! The loss of the incomparable Leo McKern, who would have portrayed these newest explots on the TV screen with immense gusto, is doubly sad.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumpole in the 21st Century!, 31 Oct 2006
By 
William D. Freeman "wdavidfreeman" (Southern California) - See all my reviews
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Bottom line up front: This is another MUST read for all Rumpole fans. One now approaches new books by the octogenarian Sir John Mortimer--especially a Rumpole story--with trepidation. Has the old fox still got it in him? Rest assured he has. This time out Rumpole incurs the wrath of the establishment (as usual) for defending a Pakistani-immigrant doctor accused of collaborating with terrorists. Experienced Rumpoleans, however, will suspect that there is more to the case than meets the eye.

What one must not look for in this book is internal consistency within the Rumpole oeuvre. Mortimer is notoriously careless about the minor details associated with these stories. The address of Rumpole's chambers, for instance, varies from 1 through 4 Equity Court. In this novel the notorious Judge Bullingham, long ago written off as dead, has been resurrected and with a carnal eye for She Who Must Be Obeyed! For that matter the Old Bailey Hack himself must be getting on towards 90 if his "sixty-ish" self-description from nearly thirty years ago was correct. Of course such trivialities may be determined by future scholars to be attributable to the amount of Pomeroy's plonk Rumpole had consumed before setting down his memoirs. Meanwhile: Enjoy!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writ of Habeas Rumpole, 7 Dec 2006
By 
Leonard Fleisig "Len" (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Horace Rumpole is mad as heck and he's not going to take it anymore!

John Mortimer's latest offering in his Rumpole of the Bailey series, "Rumpole and the Reign of Terror", finds Rumpole at his grouchy best. His grouchiness is not directed at his usual targets: Hilda (She Who Must be Obeyed) Rumpole or his colleagues at his law chambers. Instead, Rumpole has targeted his verbal slings and arrows at anti-terror legislation passed by Parliament in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and the terror bombings in London of 7 July, 2005. Rumpole (and presumably Mortimer) believes that elements of these Acts threaten to destroy some of the civil liberties Britons have fought for since Magna Carta. Specifically, and despite his loathing for the bus-bombing terrorists, Rumpole is apoplectic at elements of the legislation that allows Britain's police and security forces to detain suspected (non-citizen) terrorists for an indefinite period without benefit of counsel or a formal presentation of charges. In other words Rumpole see a threat to two legal precepts he holds dearest: the right of any suspect to seek relief from possibly unlawful detention via the use of the "great writ of habeas corpus"; and the presumption that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

Rumpole falls into his latest case, in this case something akin to a legal crusade, by accident. He is defending one of the Timson clan (the crime family that has provided Rumpole with a reasonable income (a claim disputed by Hilda no doubt) for his entire career on a run of the mill breaking and entering charge. One of the Timson `girls' seeks Rumpole's assistance. Her husband, a Pakistani-born doctor, has been arrested and detained on unspecified terrorism charges. The wife is convinced that her husband is innocent and Rumpole takes the case. To Rumpole's chagrin the Timson clan fires Rumpole because they are patriots and refuse to do business with anyone who helps terrorists. Rumpole is stymied at every turn trying to get a trial for his client in order to determine his guilt or innocence until he finds a bit of information about one of his protagonists that he uses to great, if not ethical advantage. To add to Rumpole's woes, She Who Must Be Obeyed is busy locked up in a room typing her memoirs.

The above description of the plot may make Rumpole and The Reign of Terror sound a bit more depressing and less funny than the typical Rumpole story. Fortunately, this is not the case. Despite the fact that Mortimer has taken on a serious subject, Rumpole, Hilda and the usual suspects retain their usual eccentricities. Mortimer writes with a light touch, even on a subject as serious as terrorism and manages to pull it off even as Rumpole sputters on in a caustic fashion about Tony Blair and his `new Labour' minions. Rumpole remains a delightfully drawn character. Further, Mortimer provides excerpts from Hilda's memoir-in-progress and they serve as a humorous Greek chorus that sets out popular sentiment that runs contrary to Rumpole's ideals.

I very much enjoyed Rumpole and the Reign of Terror. I understand that many readers, even Rumpole fans, will not share Rumpole's view of the sanctity of `the law' in a time of terror. However, Mortimer's writing is first-rate and funny as always and I don't think a divergent viewpoint should keep a potential reader away from another wonderful story of the trials and tribulations of the great Rumpole of the Bailey! Enjoy. L. Fleisig
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Running out of steam, 13 April 2008
By 
J. Thiry (Munich) - See all my reviews
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I agree with a previous poster that this is no longer vintage Mortimer. The rôle in which Rumpole's wife is cast is out of character. In the audio version her voice is not even right: she sounds much too young and not enough like the elderly female bully she is supposed to be. The plot is not a bad one but to Rumpole fans it will sound like a rehash of previous Rumpole plots. What remains of course is a very laudable critic of Today's war on terrorism. Timothy West is the best reader of Rumpole ever: if he reads earlier Rumpole stories in unabridged version I'll be the first to buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Story in New Clothes, 7 Jun 2007
By 
George R Dekle "Bob Dekle" (Lake City, FL United States) - See all my reviews
Since his inaugural case in the 1970's Rumpole has busily defended one or another of the Timson clan (a large and industrious family of South London thieves) on various charges. More than one of the cases Rumpole has previously chronicled involves a Timson unwisely befriending, trusting, and being betrayed by a Molloy (another large and industrious family of South London thieves). Rumpole brilliantly wins each case by convincing the jury that the Timsons and Molloys are like the Hatfields and McCoys, and that the conniving Molloy has framed the hapless Timson.

This case serves up a slight twist on that old plot, with Rumpole defending a Timson who unwisely befriended another Molloy, and at the same time defending a Pakistani doctor who married a Timson and whose affairs also cross paths with the Molloys. Besides bringing Rumpole, the Timsons, and the Molloys into the 21st Century, Mortimer also manages to mix in huge doses of critique of anti-terrorism laws. He's not too heavy-handed with his criticism, and the political commentary does not detract from the story.

The first Rumpole stories were complex pieces of work, with numerous subplots involving Rumpole's colleagues swirling around the main mystery. Mortimer's later efforts have been less complex, with Rumpole's chamber-mates at Number 4 Equity Court receding to the background as Rumpole's relationship with his wife Hilda (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed) receives more attention. The trend continues in this latest effort, with Soapy Sam Ballard, Phillida Erskine-Brown, Claude Erskine-Brown, Hoskins, and Henry the clerk receding into cardboard figures with little depth. Still, "The Reign of Terror" was so engaging that I read it in one sitting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rumpole never disapoints, 6 Feb 2014
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I thought I had read all the Rumpole books but was delighted to find this and the Penge Bungalow Murders on the same day so bought them both on Kindle. John Mortimer didn't fail to provide a good read with the usual Rumpole wit and wisdom as evident as ever in this up to date slant on a doctor charged with terrorism.With everyone and the evidence firmly against the doctor, Rumpole pulls everything out of the bag to defend the innocent.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Read, 28 Jun 2012
This is the best book I have read so far by John Mortimer about the very individualistic junior ( but not in age!) barrister in London.

The book is very well written and is not easy to put down. The fact that chapters are quite short makes it easy to move from one episode to another. A very interesting insight is given in the life of Horace Rumpole by extracts from his wife's memoirs, mainly focusing on him.

John Mortimer can be very witty. For instance, on p 28 of the paperback edition, we read that Rumpole " was relieved of a lever arch file which would eventually contain my notes of the conference with Mahmood Khan. The file was examined with deep suspicion by the (prison) authorities who apparently thought it could be used by my client to tunnel his way out of custody, or at least become a weapon of mass destruction."

On p. 74 of the paperback edition we read that Rumpole said " I might develop judgeitis". He goes on top explain that by that term he meant "A ridiculous inflation of self-importance, with increased intolerance, a fatal tendency to suck up to juries, to interfere with the cross-examinations by defending counsel; and doing your best to find all the customers in the dock guilty."
It is Motrtimer's ability to show both sides any theme such as terrorism or legal bureaucracy that makes this book worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rumpole lives on!, 2 May 2011
By 
Bacchus (Greater London - Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rumpole and the Reign of Terror (Paperback)
This is a thoroughly enjoyable book which shows that Horace Rumpole remains a marvellous character who can still play a part in a criminal trial.

I suppose you might say that just about every facet of his character has been thoroughly explored in all the other stories and coming to this book is like meeting again with a dear old friend. In this book, he comes up against the New Labour establishment and the whole issue of terrorism and detention without trial. Rumpole, for all his humour, is a very serious character and the satire is actually quite acute.

Highly recommended.
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Rumpole and the Reign of Terror
Rumpole and the Reign of Terror by John Mortimer (Paperback - 5 July 2007)
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