Sunday, December 25, 2011

Forever Rumpole by John Mortimer

book cover

Forever Rumpole:
The Best of the Rumpole Stories
by John Mortimer

ISBN-13: 9780670023066
Hardcover: 526 pages
Publisher: Penguin Group USA, Inc
Released: November 10, 2011

Source: Unrequested review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, modified from the Cover:
While still a practicing barrister, Mortimer took up the pen and wrote stories featuring the cigar-chomping, cheap-wine-tippling Rumpole and his wife, Hilda (aka "She Who Must Be Obeyed"). Forever Rumpole brings together fourteen of Rumpole's most entertaining adventures, together with a fragment of a new story.

My Review:
Forever Rumpole is described as a mystery, but it's more a court drama or literary fiction. This book is a collection of short stories that feature Rumpole as their main character.

In the Author's Introduction, he writes, "I wanted a sort of detective, who could be the hero of a number of stories but whose personality and approach to life were more important than the crimes with which he was concerned." This describes the stories well. Rumpole's life and opinions were more the focus of the stories than his figuring out how to win his cases. While the other characters viewed him as comical, he seemed a sad sort of person to me. He wins his cases, but he losses at life.

Apparently, Rumpole is a famous character, though I've never heard of him. While the stories were well-written, I wasn't that interested in the stories because the "bad guy" wasn't brought to justice, innocence wasn't saved, and our hero wasn't even happy with the outcomes. But if you like more realistic, life-focused crime fiction, you might enjoy these stories.

I didn't read all of the short stories, but in the stories I read, there was no sex and only a minor amount of explicit bad language.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The title character, Horace Rumpole, is a beloved figure who appeared decades ago on the BBC and PBS in the first TV series of several, "Rumpole of the Bailey," the Bailey being a British court where criminals are tried. I'm not sure whether the TV series or the short stories came first, but they grew up together and all were written by John Mortimer, already a well-established British playwright, author, and lawyer. The man who played Rumpole on TV eventually died, in the course of time, and John Mortimer passed away a few years ago. This book provides samples from literally decades of short stories about Rumpole by Mortimer (he also wrote one or two Rumpole novels, but Rumpole remained mainly a short-story character). Rumpole's home life and professional life do not always run smoothly, and often his cases intertwine with other stories of office politics or disputes with his wife (She Who Must Be Obeyed), doctor, and so on. If you like this book and want to read more Rumpole, it would make sense to start with the first book (short story collection), Rumpole of the Bailey, and proceed forward in time. You will enjoy them if you enjoyed this book.