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Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories
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Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  231 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
A wonderful collection, starring the world's most beloved barrister, including a fragment of a new Rumpole story. John Mortimer died in 2009, but will never be forgotten. While still a practicing barrister, Mortimer took up the pen, and the rest is literary history. His stories featuring the cigar-chomping, cheap- winetippling Rumpole and his wife, Hilda (aka "She Who Mus ...more
528 pages
Published November 10th 2011 by Viking (first published November 1st 2011)
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Brian Clegg
Nov 05, 2011 Brian Clegg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As many a comedian-turned-writer has found to his or her cost, writing good humorous fiction is a whole different level of difficulty to simply being funny on stage. I can count on the fingers of one hand the authors who have consistently managed to combine genuinely funny writing with style and readability. Wodehouse, of course, has to be one of those digits. (But don't get me started on so called humorous Booker Prize nominees - they wouldn't know funny if it bit them.) And one chubby finger s ...more
Apr 16, 2013 Mommalibrarian rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I really enjoy British literature. It is foreign but not so strange that I cannot follow the motivation. There is always new vocabulary - 'mustard-keen team' and "grass" apparently a stool-pigeon. The Rumpole books are full of succinct but apt descriptions.

"... across the plastic table-top our client sat smiling in a way which seemed to show he was either sublimely self-confident or drugged."

"Cut Above had massive shoulders, a large pink face and small, gold half-glasses. They perched on him as
Feb 13, 2012 Bruce rated it it was ok
One should not confuse Horace Walpole and Horace Rumpole, as I did when I checked this one out of the library. The OED identifies the former as the coiner of the word "serendipity" and the penner of the bon mot, "This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." Rumpole is the more pedestrian fictional invention of John Mortimer, a criminal attorney whose language is either abbreviated in the style of the clientele he typically defends ("offey," "perf," etc.) or else pun ...more
May 06, 2012 Mandolin rated it it was amazing
A self-proclaimed hack of the Old Bailey and defender of those who very well might be guilty, Horace Rumpole is certainly no one's idea of a saint. He drinks too much, has a love-hate relationship with his wife and is often guilty of employing underhanded means to get his way in chambers. And yet, we just can't help but love him and cheer for him when he wins a particularly difficult case. Each of the fourteen stories included in this collection remind us of all of Rumpole's most endearing quali ...more
Ken Bickley
Apr 05, 2015 Ken Bickley rated it it was amazing
This book (15 short stories) is one of those that I hated to see end. If you ever enjoyed "Rumpole of the Bailey" on PBS, you will also enjoy the original stories. Leo McKern's portrayal of the irascible old barrister was spot-on. These are sort of mysteries, sort of comedies, and really great reading. England's legal system is so different from ours that it's sometimes confusing, but - hey - that makes it educational too. I heartily recommend it.
Mar 21, 2016 latner3 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing might not be of the highest order, but the case for the Rumpole stories is indisputable.They are great.Your Honour.
Jul 09, 2015 Beth rated it liked it
I like it. It's funny but at the same time a little boring and helps me get to sleep.
Jul 20, 2015 theresa rated it liked it
liked well enough, would have liked more if i had an understanding of the british judicial system.
May 05, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Reviewed for Library Journal:

Horace Rumpole, the claret-quaffing barrister who never quite makes the grade but always makes a point, stars in a new collection of his most outrageous exploits. Created by British barrister Mortimer, Rumpole's courtroom antics and politically incorrect gaffes have made him a perennial favorite among mystery fans for decades. The book begins with an excellent and insightful introduction by barrister Ann Mallalieu who had the pleasure of assisting Mortimer on some of
Dec 25, 2011 Debbie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
"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 stor
Alison C
Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories, by John Mortimer, is just what it says it is: a collection of 14 short stories by that great lawyer for the defense, Horace Rumpole, one of the most enduring and eccentric characters in English literature. Seven of these were chosen by Mortimer himself and published some years back; after his death in 2009, a further seven stories from later in his career were added, along with the opening chapters of a new Rumpole novel which Mortimer was workin ...more
Michael Rutland
Jul 22, 2013 Michael Rutland rated it liked it
The collection is a fine one, but it suffers from the same fate as many do when cherry-picked stories of an great author are packaged into one place: some excellent ones invariably get left out. I would have given it a higher rating had some of these other stories been included, and I say that not because I am biased toward those on the cutting room floor. These others would have made the collection more balanced, and better showcased Mr. Mortimer's range and skill. It was too heavily-focused on ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Nov 18, 2012 Jill Hutchinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Britain's most famous Old Bailey hack, Horace Rumpole returns in this collection of stories that the author felt were his best efforts. The reader will follow the exploits of Rumpole and his continuing cast of associates in chambers and out from the infamous Timson family of petty thieves to his wife Hilda (She Who Must Be Obeyed) to the efficient and inefficient barristers and judges with whom Rumpole does battle. The word "delightful" comes to mind....these are humorous tales that will cause t ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Z rated it really liked it
Once you get used to the British legal system and terms dating back a few decades, the Rumpole character is clever and tells a good story with good humor. I love that he refers to his wife as She Who Must Be Obeyed. By the time I got to the last story, I felt like I had really gotten to know this Rumpole character and was sad I had reached the end of the book.

Feb 09, 2016 Rachelle rated it liked it
John Mortimer's Rumple will not go down as one of my favorite series to read and I find it hard to pinpoint why. Part of it is that his style of writing didn't flow easily to me and some of the characters were tiresome. And yet, I finished the book. The very thing that frustrated me, the rambling story telling that seemed to drag on, was the very thing that wove together all the dangling bits and pieces, enabling Rumple to solve the case.
Aug 11, 2016 Kirk rated it really liked it
I've read several of the Rumpole stories many years ago as well as seen all of the PBS films. This collection is a welcome reprise, as most of these stories are either new to me or merely forgotten.

As a fan of British crime stories and shows, the workings of the courts is pretty familiar to me, so the goings are easy to follow. I'm not sure judges are so quick to jump into testimony as Graves and Bullingham are here, but they provide targets for Rumpole's best retorts.
Sep 10, 2016 Lena rated it really liked it
I have always loved Mortimer's writing, and particularly his Rumpole stories. This time, I read this book of short Rumpole stories, including the last ones written, along with Annie Proulx' short stories in Bad Dirt. I alternated, a story from each, and this added to the pleasure of reading. The two sets of stories are total opposites, in setting, plot and characters, but very similar in interest and in gripping the reader to become more than a bystander.
Christopher Roden
Dec 26, 2011 Christopher Roden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very difficult book to 'score'.
Contents deserve 5***** for being first-rate Rumpole and Mortimer.
But what a lost opportunity this was to give faithful Rumpole readers an essay-length 'Rumpole - an Appreciation', by way of Introduction. Interesting though the introduction was, it was weak, and worthy of no more than a couple of stars on its own.
Shame. Both Rumpole and John Mortimer deserved better.
Jan 19, 2012 Terri rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
A selection of the best short stories of Rumple of the Bailey, this was very enjoyable. The stories are told by Rumpole himslef, although he refers to himself as "Rumpole" sometimes in the telling. There's always a twist, and always something about 'She Who Must Be Obeyed', and always humor. Takes a while to read all the stories, but it easy to read a couple, put down the book, and read something else, then come's like revisiting an old friend.
Apr 01, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I've read every Rumpole story out there, and still could not pass up this collection of some of the "best" (they're all wonderful to me). If you've yet to meet the oldest, grumpiest, smartest, most compassionate, hilarious junior barrister at Equity Court, you're in for a real treat. You're missed terribly, Sir John Mortimer!
Dec 18, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing
Reading John Mortimer's 'Rumpole Stories' is to be taken into that world of 'She Who Must Be Obeyed', Chateau Thames Embankment at Pommeroy's Bar and a touch of murder down the Old Bailey. Lots of characters like the Timsons, 'Fig' Newton, Erskine-Brown Q.C. (Queer Customer) and Soapy Sam Bollard, Head of Chambers at No.3 Equity Court.
Michelle Despres
Dec 10, 2012 Michelle Despres rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, england
I adore Rumpole stories, and I'm a little sad that my habit of the last couple of weeks - reading a Rumpole story before bed each night - has come to an end. I should probably look at getting The Complete Works, if it exists.
Aug 09, 2012 Joanne rated it liked it
I have always been curious about this fictional very British public defender. "The Best of..." book gave me an opportunity to sample the stories. The British system is different than the American system and so I was baffled by some of the procedures, but the drool humor was delightful.
Oct 29, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Good collection of previously published stories, with a bonus story that was in progress at the time of Mortimer's death (not really enough of a fragment to be satisfying) and an intro by a barrister who knew Mortimer (very good read for fans of the writer and the character).
May 06, 2013 Pat rated it it was amazing
Of course, I had the television version of Rumpole in mind as I was reading, and at first the British legal slang was hard going (Law and Order, UK, notwithstanding), but as I continued reading, it became easy going and thoroughly enjoyable!
Vinay Mehta
Apr 13, 2016 Vinay Mehta rated it really liked it
Took long time to complete the book but that was on me. Each story needs time to build up but rumpole as a character is witty, quirky and with lot of sense. He can be decieving and shrewd sometimes but his law skills can't be questioned.
Jul 25, 2015 Tonya rated it it was amazing
"All hail Horace!" - the review on the back cover says it all! This is a great collection of Rumpole short stories. There were a few repeats from past collections I've read, but most of them were new to me. Delicious brain candy!
Barbara Rodman
Jun 10, 2012 Barbara Rodman rated it really liked it
My bedtime reading (though I wish I'd downloaded onto the Kindle)... even funnier than the PBS series.
Martha Netoff
Mar 14, 2012 Martha Netoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
I remember listening to these on audio and can hear the voices of the actors as I read. It was fun to re-visit them.
Feb 08, 2014 Jenine rated it it was amazing
Only a slight cheat, I'm on the last couple of stories. These are such a balm to me, a large hint of Wodehouse and a bit of Sayers. What a good thing that I'm old enough to enjoy them.
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John Clifford Mortimer is a novelist, playwright and former practising 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 - a character as brilliant as Rumpole.

John Mortimer received a knighthood for his services to the arts in 1998.

More about John Mortimer...

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