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The First Rumpole Omnibus (Rumpole of the Bailey omnibus)

4.29  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,160 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Who rose to enduring fame on Blood and Typewriters, told the pregnant Portia of the Chambers it would come out in the end, advised Guthrie Featherstone, Q.C. to adopt a more judicial attitude, returned in the tender gloaming of each evening - via Pommeroy's and a glass of Chateau Fleet Street - to she who must be obeyed?

The answer is Horace Rumpole whose legal triumphs, p
Paperback, Non-Classics, 560 pages
Published September 29th 1984 by Penguin (first published 1980)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,702)
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Dec 12, 2014 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of Horace Rumpole for many years and I re-read the books on a regular basis. Even when you know what happens the stories are still good reading and I often notice little things that I missed on previous readings. This omnibus contains 'Rumpole of the Baily', 'The Trials of Rumpole' and 'Rumpole's Return'. The first two consist of six short stories each and the third is a novel though it does contain more than one case.

'Rumpole of the Bailey' was the first of the Rumpole books a
Alexander Inglis
Jun 27, 2011 Alexander Inglis rated it really liked it
This is my first encounter with Rumpole in print (ok, e-ink), so I thought I'd start at the beginning. The first couple of stories in this volume wet my appetite but later tales really turn on the charm. Reading Rumpole is a bit like slipping into a comfy pair of jeans and slippers. It's also a great "in between" read to "cleanse" my little gray cells as I switch from one thriller or police procedural to another.

John Mortimer's The First Rumpole Omnibus is actually a collection of three books pu
Jesse Broussard
Feb 12, 2011 Jesse Broussard rated it really liked it
This was absolutely glorious. Just delightful.

"As I always say, murder is nothing more than common assault, with unfortunate consequences."
"He stands up with all the eager self-confidence of a rabbit with a retiring disposition caught in the headlights of an oncoming car."
"so that the unfortunate Guthrie often arrived at Chambers looking less like a suave and successful Q.C... than a man who spends his nights watching over a dynamite factory in which all the employees are allowed to smoke."
Jan 20, 2016 Rajan is currently reading it
Shelves: humor-satire
See the superb opening (i guess rowling took her inspiration for Voldemort here) :

"I, Horace Rumpole, barrister at law, 68 next birthday, Old Bailey Hack, husband to Mrs Hilda Rumpole (known to me only as She Who Must Be Obeyed) and father to Nicholas Rumpole (lecturer in social studies at the University of Baltimore, I have always been extremely proud of Nick); I, who have a mind full of old murders, legal anecdotes"

John Martin
I will finish this book, I promise.
But it's on hold again.
The good news is I've gone past halfway.
The bad news is that's all for now, folks.
I started reading this book again a few weeks ago after putting it on hold a year or so ago after reading a bit.
I love Rumpole but I was spoiled by watching the TV series with Leo McKern.
From what I've read, the TV series was very faithful to the books - hence my feeling of having been her before.
Nevetheless, Rumpole's such a marvellous character - and I ful
Theodore Kinni
Jan 20, 2016 Theodore Kinni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
If you like the first sentence, you'll like it all: 'I, Horace Rumpole, barrister at law, 68 next birthday, Old Bailey Hack, husband to Mrs Hilda Rumpole (known to me only as She Who Must Be Obeyed) and father to Nicholas Rumpole (lecturer in social studies at the University of Baltimore, I have always been extremely proud of Nick); I, who have a mind full of old murders, legal anecdotes and memorable fragments of the Oxford Book of English Verse (Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's edition) together wit ...more
Jun 01, 2008 Laurajean rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Once you read one Rumpole story, you're hooked. Before I read any Rumpole at all, I saw an episode of Rumpole of the Bailey on PBS, starring Leo McKern as the man himself. (In later episodes, his real life daughter portrayed Liz Probert.) The entire series was very true to the stories, and I've reserved them all on Netflix.

Great, great reading, especially if you're a fan of British mysteries. I read them all over and over again.
Jeff Kelleher
Jun 09, 2015 Jeff Kelleher rated it it was amazing
Humanity on parade.

I was sitting alone at the bar of a coastal saloon in North San Diego with tears streaming down my face. Not, as some could think, because of a failed affair or moroseness over life's missed opportunities, but because I was convulsed with laughter. "Excuse me," says Jennifer, the lovely barmaid who knows me as a regular, "but the other patrons are asking what you are reading."

"It is the curse, as well as the fascination of the law, that lawyers get to know more than is good fo
Feb 04, 2008 Gavin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour
Whether you're a lawyer or not Rumpole is great. Tremendously funny and irreverent too. The barrister who never lost a case - well, he might have done, but to know that for sure you'd have to read his stories - something I would recommend.
Jul 02, 2008 William rated it really liked it
I was doing a long firm fraud then; a particularly nasty business, out of which i got a certain amoung of harmless fun.

Having never seen a televised episode of John Mortimer's series, i went into this book somewhat blind, having heard countless references to the great Horace Rumpole from friends working within the field of law.

All i can say is...what a great character Rumpole is. Wonderfully funny, entirely admirable and oh so easy to identify with, he's the hero of the Bailey, the champion of
Jun 16, 2014 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining, and a bit darker than I expected (from the little I remember of the T.V. show, I went in assuming that Rumpole would be defending penny ante criminals rather than murderers and rapists). Good for the most part, but the last few stories went off the rails a bit with everyone assuming he was losing his edge. With him not realizing until much later what people were saying about him and what they were doing in anticipation of/reaction to his retirement, he really did seem like he ...more
Brian Burhoe
Mar 07, 2015 Brian Burhoe rated it it was amazing
I came into the Rumpole fold late, but making up for lost time. In the best British comic tradition, some of Mortimer's humour is repetitious (think: Keeping Up Appearances) but you'll see why Mortimer's been called the new Wodehouse. If you've never read Rumpole, I recommend doing what I did: start with THE FIRST RUMPOLE OMNIBUS and work your way through...
Panzerjäger Fitz
Feb 12, 2015 Panzerjäger Fitz rated it it was amazing

I've always known Rumpole of the old bailey as a modern-day crusader of pen and parchment, defender of the -mostly- defenseless, patron of Pomeroy's, literary enfant terrible of the bar, iconoclast and a salty, gritty comedic genius. Mortimer has not disappointed, and he shall be missed.
Oct 06, 2008 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
Borrowed from my good friend Paddy, as I stayed in Alexandria between SF and BA, this makes a perfect bedtime companion here in Buenos Aires. I find it overstimulating to try to read in Spanish immediately before going to sleep, so this compendium of Rumpole tales fits the bill nicely. Most of the stories are short, each manages to defy my expectations in some gentle way, but there's nothing gory enough to unsettle my sleep patterns.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Mortimer behaved like
Austen to Zafón
Feb 13, 2009 Austen to Zafón rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
After reading Mortimer's memoirs and his Titmuss books, I was surprised that I didn't like Rumpole more. I found the stories formulaic and repetitive. Perhaps that always happens when there is a recurring character; the author feels compelled to reintroduce the main quirks of the character over and over. Reading the stories one after another, it was irksome. Agatha Christie did that with Poirot and Marple, but the stories were longer, so it didn't seem so tedious. Anyway, the stories were amusin ...more
Russell L
I liked the stories for the most part. they were short and very creative. I couldn't follow the British slang though.
Dec 23, 2015 Gordon rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
A bit repetitive at times and certainly cynical, but for all that more than a little amusing
Jul 06, 2014 Tamsyn rated it really liked it
Rumpole continues to be my favourite lawyer in fiction. Really enjoyable.
Richard Penn
Aug 01, 2014 Richard Penn rated it liked it
Rumpole is a lovely character, but I'm afraid I loved him more on TV than in the book. The stories were written to stand alone, so the book comes over as repetitive.
Dec 29, 2010 Loretta rated it really liked it
This was actually more entertaining than I expected. I had picked it up at a used book store ages ago, feeling like "Oh, I really should read these, I've heard so much about Rumpole". But I had never seen the series, and had an idea that Rumpole was a cartoonish figure, and that it would all be a very light and foolish look at the law.

Rumpole is larger than life, but certainly not cartoonish, and the picture drawn of the Bailey and the legal world of criminal courts rang very true to me, both i
Jan 27, 2016 Steve rated it liked it
almost as good as the tv series
Ben Schaffer
Nov 30, 2014 Ben Schaffer rated it really liked it
May 30, 2016 Zachary rated it it was amazing
I have loved all of the Rumpole stories. They are the perfect length (about 30 pages) and are almost always very clever/funny, with a twist ending.

I plan to read all of the Rumpole omnibus.
Jan 21, 2015 Jocelyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I haven't really read this book recently, but I have been watching the DVDs. Highly entertaining. I believe I have either read all the Rumpole stories or listened to them on tape. They are just too funny. Rumpole reminds me a little of my grandfather -- same accent, no-nonsense attitude, highly principled, and quotes lots of British authors by heart.
Jun 29, 2011 Jesse rated it really liked it
Humorous British comedy with tiny bits of mystery thrown in. Rumpole is a British barrister who would make Shaggy proud, he never pleads guilty no matter how damning the evidence against his client. His humorous escapades getting his clients off and avoiding his wife are really entertaining, as is his philosophy of life. Definitely worth reading.
Apr 03, 2012 Karl rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lawyers, connoisseurs of comedy,
Shelves: humor, literature
Rumpole is a barrister who deals with troubled issues in the most clever of manners all while keeping up the dry British wit. Regardless of your professional interests this collection revolving around the legal career of one man is an excellent read. It offers comedy, mystery, and engaging thoughts all in simple to approach packages.
Aug 25, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it
The basis for the old BBC/PBS series "Rumpole of the Bailey." Rumpole is an eccentric English barrister (lawyer, with the wife famously referred to as "She Who Must be Obeyed." Mildly amusing series of "cases", especially enjoyable for Anglophiles.
May 13, 2016 Lolese rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure if this book rated three of four stars, but fond memories of the televised series starring the late Leo McKern swayed me toward the fourth star. A little repetitive in places, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Jul 27, 2011 Véronique rated it it was ok
Déception... À moins que je ne sois pas dans le mood de cet humour.... Je vais lire le 2e et après je déciderai si j'aime Rumpole ou non!

(Lu en français, mais le titre français n'est pas sur Facebook)
S Dizzy
Sep 09, 2015 S Dizzy rated it really liked it
Rumpole is hilarious! His description of situations - he described living in Florida "like being in an air-conditioned purgatory"- & people is laugh out loud hysterical! Reminds me of Jeeves & Wooster.
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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)
  • Rumpole à la Carte
  • Rumpole on Trial
  • Rumpole and the Angel of Death

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