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  • Published: 28 November 2011
  • ISBN: 9780141964973
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

Forever Rumpole

The Best of the Rumpole Stories




A new selection of fourteen of the best Rumpole stories spanning thirty years in the life of one of our greatest comic creations

Horace Rumpole lives alongside Sherlock Holmes, Pickwick and Jeeves as one of the immortal characters of English fiction. With his curmudgeonly wit, his literary allusions, his disdain for personal ambition and his lack of pomposity, he has, according to the Daily Telegraph, 'ascended to the pantheon of literary immortals'.
Over a period of thirty years, John Mortimer wrote almost eighty Rumpole stories. The world changed gradually and Rumpole found himself defending hunt-saboteurs and alleged Islamic terrorists, but the old boy himself remained the same: committed to defending the apparently indefensible, trusting of the good sense of a jury, scornful of the law's pomposities - values he carried with him wherever he practised, whether a murder at the Bailey or a bit of assault at the Uxbridge Magistrates Court. And when the day was over, it was a quick nip into Pommeroy's for a glass or two of Chateau Thames Embankment before the tube home to She Who Must Be Obeyed in Foxbury Mansions.
The best of Rumpole is represented in this new selection of fourteen stories, the first published in 1978, the last in 2004. And as an added bonus, the book ends with the fragment of a new Rumpole novel Sir John was working on when he died in January 2009.

  • Published: 28 November 2011
  • ISBN: 9780141964973
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

About the author

John Mortimer

John Mortimer was born on 21 April 1923. His father was a successful divorce lawyer, and was to be a considerable influence on his son's life. Schooled at Harrow, Mortimer went on to study law at Brasenose College, Oxford. On finishing his degree, he was called to the Bar in 1948 and entered his father's chambers. At first he followed his father and specialised in divorce cases, but he soon switched to criminal law, as he maintained that murderers and the like were nicer to work with than divorcing spouses. In 1966 he became a Queen's Counsel, and he continued to work as a barrister until 1979. A lifelong champion of free speech, he has argued for the defence in some of the most famous obscenity trials in Britain, including the one brought against the underground magazine Oz for its notorious 'School Kids' issue. John Mortimer started writing before he became a barrister. His legal career inspired his fiction, however, with his first radio play, The Dock Brief (1957) dealing with the subject of an ageing barrister who is asked to defend a man accused of murdering his wife. It won the Italia Prize and was adapted for the stage, television and a film starring Peter Sellers and Richard Attenborough. He also had great success with his autobiographical play A Voyage Round My Father, which ran in the West End starring Jeremy Brett and Alec Guinness. It was subsequently adapted for TV starring Sir Laurence Olivier and Alan Bates. He first wrote about Rumpole in a BBC TV Play for Today called Rumpole of the Bailey. Centring on a lovable Old Bailey hack with a penchant for cigars and claret and a domineering wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, the play was an instant hit, and in 1978 the first Thames Television series was aired under the same name, starring Leo McKern as Rumpole. It became hugely popular, and five more series followed. The first collection of Rumpole stories was published in 1978, and was followed by a further twelve volumes. His other novels include the trilogy of Titmuss novels, Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained and The Sound of Trumpets, and he has also written three volumes of autobiography (Clinging to the Wreckage, Murderers and Other Friends and Summer of a Dormouse) and numerous TV and film adaptations, including Brideshead Revisited, Cider with Rosie and Tea with Mussolini. John Mortimer received a knighthood for his services to the arts in 1998 in the Queen's birthday honours list. He died in 2009.

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