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Rumpole and the Reign of Terror (Rumpole of the Bailey #14)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  750 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
John Mortimer's bestselling barrister is back, in his most timely case yet

Just in case Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders gave fans the impression that the Great Defender was resting on his laurels, his new case sends him at full sail into our panicky new world. Rumpole is asked to defend a Pakistani doctor who has been imprisoned without charge or trial on suspicion
Paperback, 184 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Penguin Books (first published November 16th 2006)
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Jason Koivu
Dec 23, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I finish a Rumpole book, I figure "Well, that must be the last of them..." and then I find another! Having just taken the time to look over John Mortimer's list of Rumpole's, I see I've got about 9 or 10 more to go. Huzzah!

I love reading about the British legal system and viewing it through the eyes of that most lovable of curmudgeons, Horace Rumpole, a defense lawyer who believes a man is innocent until proven guilty. He's a hero for the oppressed, put-upon and wrongfully accused.

Petra Eggs
Jan 27, 2009 Petra Eggs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
John Clifford Mortimer wrote many books about Rumpole which became a very popular British tv series. Rumpole is a barrister who prefers the company of the crooks he defends to other lawyers and is at all times terrified of his wife, Hilda, who is known as She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. The books tell good stories and unlike real-life lawyers who represent whoever walks in the door with a cheque, Rumpole has morals. The books are good, entertaining reads with substance.
Jill Hutchinson
Rumpole of the Old Bailey strikes again!!!!! But this time he may have bitten off more than he can chew as he defends a well-loved Pakistani doctor who is accused of terrorism. The odds are stacked against him as the public is vocally against the physician and the courts are agreeing. Besides, Rumpole has to come up against Justice "Mad Bull" Bullingham who is on the bench for the trial. The notorious and ubiquitous Timson family shows up, as one of their own is married to the doctor and even th ...more
Feb 08, 2009 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having thought I'd read all the Rumpole books, imagine my joy when I found a couple of new ones to buy with a Christmas gift certificate. Rumpole and the Reign of Terror is somewhat slight, but what it lacks in deep thought, it makes up for in wit. Surprisingly, the plot of the book centers around the British version of the Patriot Act, a travesty Rumpole, in his never-take-no-for-an-answer-way, is bound to correct.

While the book is fun to read, it does give short shrift to the real difficultie
Jun 28, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mortimer, John. RUMPOLE AND THE REIGN OF TERROR. (2006). ****.
In this installment of Rumpole’s cases, author Mortimer has him address the current issues surrounding terrorism and its effect on the approaches to the rule of law that nations undertook. As in America, England instituted its own “homeland security” measures which obviated most of the legal systems in place that protected the rights of citizens. The case of a man unjustly accused of treasonable acts comes before Rumpole. The client
Jul 29, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, classic
You kind of forget how really good the Rumpole books can be - and this is a perfect little example. Especially with Mrs Rumpole locked in the box-room writing her memoirs (while not being romanced by Rumpole's nemesis of course). At the same time that Rumpole is proceeding with defending a Pakistani doctor suspected of terrorism. Who happens to have a connection to the infamous Timson family. Who have a big problem with him. Which means that Rumpole suddenly has a bit problem with cash flow.

Jan 18, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after reading about it in John Mortimer's obituary. I thought the Rumpole series ended a few years ago, when Rumpole has a heart attack in court and goes to argue his final brief before a judge from whom there is no appeal. I was surprised to find that there were at least two books after Rumpole Rests his Case.

I don't think this is Mortimer's best. Hilda's memoirs don't add much. But it's wonderful (though ultimately predictable) to see how Rumpole reacts to the post-9/11 emasculati
Dec 20, 2008 Doreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
12/20/08 Brilliant book: funny, topical, with a good mystery and courtroom/romantic drama to boot. There are several awfully convenient coincidences, but they don't distract from the over-all worth of the story. I didn't realize when I picked this book up at the thrift store that it was set in modern times (for some reason, I always thought the Rumpole novels to be more current with the Bertie Wooster milieu,) but it was a very pleasant surprise. If you thought the Patriot Act was absurdly fasci ...more
Dec 03, 2016 Courtney rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook-d
Rumpole is always what I imagine Jeeves and Bertie would be like if they were squeezed into a single body--always getting into sticky situations, but having the wit and cleverness to get out of them. Eventually. And despite the machinations of determined female relations.
Feb 19, 2017 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Mortimer takes us on another romp with the lovable curmudgeon Rumpole, She Who Must be obeyed, and the kooky assortment of characters from the Old Bailey. Fun to read, and a mystery to boot.
Jan 03, 2017 Stven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasant read. I expected the "reign of terror" not to be literal but rather to be some sort of contretemps within Rumpole's chambers set, so I was surprised to find we were actually dealing with the abrogation of the rights of the accused in an English trial on the grounds that "the terrorists" must be confronted. Good to see Rumpole taking even this situation in stride. But I tired of the interleaving of Hilda's memoirs between the chapters of Rumpole himself in first person.
Sep 30, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, united-kingdom
Hilda is writing her memoir, so it's probably just as well that Rumpole doesn't know what she is doing locked away in the boxroom for hours on end. But Rumpole is very busy telling his own story of how he nearly lost his livelihood (aka the Timson family clan), and found himself involved in the new world of Terrorism trials.

Despite being extremely concerned about the wherewithal to support both the ongoing requirement for furniture police, Fairy Liquid, scrubbing brushes and Vim alongside his ow
Phillip Taylor
Sep 13, 2008 Phillip Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all barristers, especially in the criminaljurisdiction
Recommended to Phillip by:



Without the least irony (I hope), another 'legal character' book arrived at my 'Barrister Desk' for 'The Malet Street Gazette' and I always look forward to something from John Mortimer who never fails to please my reading appetite.

Received, I hasten to add, with much eagerness and anticipation again- the fifteenth Rumpole book: “Rumpole and the Reign of Terror”.

It is politics by innue
Jul 27, 2010 Bluenose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was published before the last Rumpole I read, The Antisocial Behaviour of Horace Rumpole, and I was at first uncertain as to whether I had read it or not such is the sheer volume of Rumpole product most of which I have ardently consumed. But no, I hadn’t seen this one before and it didn’t disappoint though calling this slim large type volume a novel is a bit of a stretch. Ah well, Mortimer is always worthwhile especially when you find a remaindered hardback at $6.99. The cover is also ...more
Marc Maitland
As always, a real pleasure to read about the exploits of Horace Rumpole! A novelty of this particular tome is the inclusion of several chapters of Hilda Rumpole's own memoirs, to redress the balance, as it were, from the prospect of She who must be Obeyed!

Poignantly, I read it in the week during which the memorial service of the late Sir John Mortimer, Q.C. took place. As a sign of the high regard in which he was held, the Service was attended by Royalty and statesmen, as well as those from ever
Rumpole enters the arena of anti-terrorism tribunals when he takes the case of a Pakistani man arrested as a terrorist. Rumpole is frustrated by the new rules put in place to deal with such cases, rules which defy the traditions of English justice. His client is in prison without charge on the basis of hearsay, and the government refuses to show any evidence.

Rumpole expresses the frustration and foreboding many of us in the Britain and the United States feel over the way government's powers have
Oct 01, 2009 Chip rated it it was ok
Ya either love Rumpole or hate him... if you're a fan of the BBC series you'll enjoy the book. It is a brief (pun intended) adventure that poses new questions about SWMBO's character (She Who Must Be Obeyed). As a mystery I found it rather thin - I had speculatively solved it about halfway through. The wrapup at the end was more Perry Mason-esque that I would have expected. There was at least a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, hard for this jaded old reader to come by, and for those I was since ...more
Cameron Toney
I love Rumpole of the Bailey. He is a wonderful character, and the books are filled with delightful characters that you cant wait to see what they get up to next. Theres not been a Rumpole story I have not liked.
That said, this is not one of John Mortimers stronger showings. Rumpole finds himself in a terrorist case, hooked in by his longtime clients, the Timpsons. He is battling public opinion on the importance of a fair trial, even when the accused might be a dreadful terrorist.
Its a book tha
"Rumpole and the Reign of Terror" is a relatively new story of Rumpole, where he defends a doctor who is accused of terrorism. We recall those 5 Pakistani terrorist doctors that were caught in the UK. This short novel does NOT cover that incident but does have a Pakistani doctor arrested for terrorism.

Rumpole tackles the issue of arrest without habeous corpus, imprisonment without a trial and without the ability to face one's accusers, search and seizures without warrants, etc. Apparently the Ma
Andy Park
Nov 09, 2007 Andy Park rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rumpole's a British law-mystery series, but there are numerous connections to be made with the current political and social issues in the states, especially this one - the reign of terror, which revolves around Rumpole defending a Pakistani doctor accused of terrorist act.

Extremely comical w/ double entendres and tongue-in-cheek humors, Shakespearean misunderstandings all happening before your 3rd person omniscient perspective. It's not as intellectually stimulating as reading Sherlock Holmes, b
Chris Hunt
Jan 06, 2008 Chris Hunt rated it liked it
I have never been a big Rumpole fan, but I used to watch the series. In this book, rumpole gets involved with the subject of Terrorism. Horace does a good bit of grousing against the government walking all over the Magna Carta and so forth. the part that really caught my interest was his relationship with his wife Hilda; "she who much be obeyed." Hilda is busily writing her memoirs on a laptop in the back room during the time the story takes place. While he defends an accused terrorist, she thin ...more
Read this one straight after I am pilgrim by Terry Hayes and it was an interesting contrast. One was about the extra ordinary lengths both terrorists and law enforcement go to commit and prevent crimes and the laws that get broken in the process and then this one that has governments making laws that strip basic civil rights from citizens when they are accused of terrorist activities - to the point where the accused can be held without charge or even any knowledge of what they are supposed to ha ...more
John Carter
It’s amazing how the public supports condemning terrorists without a trial, because after all these people murder women and babies while they shop and while they travel on the subway or the Underground. Such people don’t deserve the expense of a trial; just lock ’em up and throw away the key. What a glorious folk are the Rumpoles of the world who believe in civil rights. If I knew the man I’d send him a case of Château Thames Embankment every month. And if I had the misfortune to be arrested I’d ...more
Jan 05, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it
If you haven't discovered the delights of Rumpole, these gentle British mysteries are wonderful fun. Rumpole is a barrister who delights in criminal law, specifically a family of long-time crooks known as the Timsons. The Timsons keep him in legal briefs and dosh.

The plots aren't terribly important; they usually turn on a little-known fact Rumpole ferrets out that shows up the opposition in a human, fallible light and wins the case for Rumpole.

Good fun, and a pleasant way to spend a winter's e
I've always enjoyed Rumpole whether in novel form or in the numerous short stories in "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine". This book is no exception. Rumpole is asked to defend a Pakistani citizen who has been charged with attempting to commit terrorist activities against England. In the mean time, Rumpole's wife, Hilda, known as "she who must be obeyed," is writing her memoirs, which will reveal to the world the truth about how difficult Rumpole is to live with.

This is a delightful book that is a
Jul 08, 2012 Regan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
A charming and funny interlude vaguely reminiscent of Wodeouse, but not quite so over the top. This one tackles the absurdities of the post 9/11 legal system in the UK.

For audiobook readers: Unfortunately the audio quality is poor -- it sounds like it was recorded in an echo chamber and narrator Bill Wallis has Rumpole talking into his upper lip most of the time which makes him even harder to understand.
Jan 12, 2009 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read all of the Rumpole series. That should tell you how much I enjoy it. He is a great character and the stories are lighthearted, but important. Actually I saw the series on TV years ago and was interested enough to start reading as a hobby. I bought the book over the holidays at B&N with a gift cetrtificate from Matt.

It was a fun read, although I think that I enjoyed the earlier short stories more.
Jun 28, 2016 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It amazes me that so few "legal thrillers" concern themselves with the most important legal issue of our time: the destruction of any semblance of justice and civil liberty in the name of "national security." Well, I guess we have to read comic novels like this one to even approach the brutal truth of what is going on. Rumpole, fool that he is, outshines the hack lawyer-heroes lounging on the best seller lists.
Richard Thompson
Aug 14, 2013 Richard Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humor
Rumpole is asked to defend Dr. Mahmood Khan, a doctor from Pakistan, who is accused to terrorism and is being held without trial. His first job is to figure out a way to force the authorities to agree to a trial. Mad Bull Bullingham is appointed to the High Court. And Hilda starts writing her memoirs. Good fun but it raised some serious issues about how governments are trying to use fear of terrorism to rob citizens of their basic legal rights.
Catherine Hill
Sep 20, 2007 Catherine Hill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I wanted to stand up and cheer. Old fashioned legal hack Rumpole, who dares to believe in habeas corpus! His diatribes were music to my ears. Since people who defend Muslims are hardly popular, Mortimer has a chance to take Rumpole to a free legal aid location to learn about the minor, grinding opressions Mr. Blairs government has been responsible for. I had read elsewhere that Blair had promulgated a number of new punitive laws, but now I got a sample. ...more
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Rumpole of the Bailey (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Rumpole of the Bailey
  • The Trials of Rumpole
  • Rumpole's Return
  • Rumpole for the Defence
  • Rumpole and the Golden Thread
  • Rumpole's Last Case
  • Rumpole and the Age of Miracles (Rumpole)
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  • Rumpole on Trial
  • Rumpole and the Angel of Death

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