A collection of seven stories featuring Horace Rumpole and colleagues - Phyllida Erskine-Brown now a judge; her husband, Claude still trying to become a QC and have an extra-marital affair without being caught; Mizz Liz Probert, the radical young lawyer and 'Soapy' Sam Ballard the head of chambers. Not to speak of 'She Who Must Be Obeyed AKA Hilda Rumpole, the indefatigable Timson family who keep Rumpole in bread and butter and 'Bonny' Bernard, their solicitor who always gives Rumpole his cases.
I think this is one of the best collections of Rumpole stories though it is currently only available second hand and not available at all as an e-book. I've always been especially fond of 'Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle' which is much more serious and poignant than many Rumpole stories and which sees him emerge from the case a sadder and wiser man. I also love 'Rumpole and the Soothsayer' with its neat twist at the end.
If you can get hold of a copy of this book then I guarantee that if you love Rumpole you will not be disappointed.
I can kind of see why these are being allowed to go out of print. They are a picture of a world long gone, law courts where anachronisms like Rumpole are still allowed to thrive and there are still the vestiges of the old fashioned thieves honour code. Having said that, it is a real shame because these are lovely, gently humorous stories with a subtle eye for social and political criticism that are in turn funny, poignant, wry and despite the bombast, oddly understated.
Rumpole is a hidden gem and should be revived immediately. For those uninitiated in the ways of Rumpole, he is a defence lawyer in the inns of courts and the books are a series of short stories, each one regarding a particular memoir of a case. These stories are also filled with wonderfully funny details about Rumpole's long suffering wife, known as She Who Must Be Obeyed and the various skirmishes he has with the other members of his team and various judges before whom he has to pit his wit.
In this collection he has a run in with a provincial theatre group, helps his boss become untangled from a compromising situation with a young socialist and fights the forces of those who wish him to retire gently into that goodnight.
Simple, funny and well worth a read.
on 6 January 1999
If you enjoy the judicial adventures of Rumpole, you will especially enjoy this set of cases. This time John Mortimer has given us a set of cases that subtly tickle our sense of humor. I've read some of the other Rumpole books, but this one had me chuckling through out the entire book. So, if you have enjoyed the television series, you will especially enjoy these cases. The case of Rumpole before the judiciary committee was presented on PBS. It is even better here in the written form.