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

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  177 ratings  ·  40 reviews
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 ascended to the pantheon of literary immortals. Over a period of thirty years, John Mortimer wrote almost eighty Rumpole stories. The ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Viking
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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
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
liked well enough, would have liked more if i had an understanding of the british judicial system.
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
"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
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
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
Brian Clegg
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
Ken Bickley
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.
Michael Rutland
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
"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!
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.
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.
Jill Hutchinson
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
I like it. It's funny but at the same time a little boring and helps me get to sleep.
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.
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.
Z Coonen
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.

Christopher Roden
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.
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!
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.
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).
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!
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.
Good if you have lived in the UK and/or have familiarity with the British legal system and humour.
I enjoyed that it was short stories so I could "pick up-put down" during the holidays.
Ronald Ball
I have always been a fan of Rumpole and the book did not change that. John Mortimer was able to always add humor to any situation. It was great remembering the BBC versions of the stories.
Witty and funny. Please read my entire review here:
Let's face it, we all either want to be Rumpole or be married to him. Personally I'm the former, although perhaps without quite so much cigar ash...
Ed Ashley
I seldom laugh aloud while reading, but this is an exception. Rumpole and his observations on the human condition are priceless and invaluable.
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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...
Rumpole of the Bailey The First Rumpole Omnibus Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders Rumpole Rests His Case Rumpole and the Reign of Terror

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