Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Rumpole Christmas: Stories” as Want to Read:
A Rumpole Christmas: Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Rumpole Christmas: Stories (Rumpole of the Bailey #16.1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  378 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
A Rumpole Christmas is a collection of five holiday stories—never before published in book form—depicting the Old Bailey Hack at his lovable best. In “Rumpole and Father Christmas,” the English barrister encounters a familiar-looking Santa who he thinks is a thief. In “Rumpole’s Slimmed Down Christmas,” he goes to a new-age spa when “She who must be obeyed” insists that he ...more
Audio CD, 1 page
Published October 27th 2009 by AudioGO (first published October 15th 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Rumpole Christmas, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Rumpole Christmas

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 620)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jason Koivu
Horace Rumpole, that Old Bailey hack, is at it again, preserving the innocent and undermining the pompous with his razor wit.

A Rumpole Christmas comprises some heart-warming tales, but it's also somewhat sad to read these stories knowing they were published posthumously within the same year of John Mortimer's death. He was a busy writer in his later years, churning out an impressive Rumpole cannon.


Often the stories are very short, relative to Mortimer's average. In fact, a couple of them are m
Dec 09, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, christmas, own
In the spirit of true confession: I have never read anything by John Mortimer before.

I've had him recommended by a number of people, I've heard of Rumpole of the Bailey, but never really thought that much about it. Then I recently realized that Emily Mortimer is his daughter, and I don't know why that intrigued me, but it did. Also, one of the best stories in Betsy Burton's THE KING'S ENGLISH is about Sir John Mortimer and the time he came to the King's English for a signing. (Spoiler: he was d
Feb 04, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barrister Horace Rumpole, defender of the criminal class, loves his work. Fortunately, work finds him even during the Christmas holidays, as readers will discover to their delight in this collection of five Rumpole stories.

In "Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces," the barrister recognizes an old client who had run an exceptionally successful blackmailing operation. Now discovering him with a new name and assumed respectability at a country church event, Rumpole "suggests" that he make a sizable
Mar 14, 2013 Desmond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humor
John Mortimer created in Horace Rumpole an enduring figure of British literature that I consider on par with some of the better known characters in their memorability and capacity to entertain.

In this slim volume featuring five short tales all sharing the central theme of taking place during Christmas readers will find Rumpole, his wife Hilda (known to him as She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed), and the other occupants of his Chambers at 3 Equity Court, London all make an appearance.

The stories range from t
Maughn Gregory
I thought I'd read every Rumpole story and novel before John Mortimer died, so imagine my delight to come across this little gem at Sam Weller's Bookstore in Salt Lake City! Only to be enjoyed with a glass of your local, not-so-fine plonk.
Amy Paget
A Rumpole Christmas is a book that can be enjoyed at any time of the year consisting as it does of 5 classic comic tales by John Mortimer featuring Horace Rumpole, British criminal barrister practicing at London’s Old Bailey courts. Mortimer, who died in January 2009, was himself a barrister, and also a novelist and playwright. His first book of tales, Rumpole of the Bailey was published in 1980. 14 other volumes followed. Horace Rumpole is a decidedly politically incorrect, overweight, and freq ...more
Feb 07, 2015 Brendan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, audio, mystery, humor, 2014
Everyone's favorite cantakerous lawyer is back for more glasses of Pomeroy's finest, carping at judges, and winning most of his cases. In this collection, Rumpole puts up with Helga's changing plans for Christmas, resorts to a bit of arm-twisting for a good cause, and has a productive trip to the theater. This story collection is a delight for the Rumpole enthusiast, but doesn't really do much new. As always, Bill Wallis brings the collection to delightful life.
Gary Wallis
Dec 29, 2012 Gary Wallis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable book. I have never read Rumpole of the Bailey stories and I thought I`d try this one. John Mortimer is a very good story teller and I like Rumpole alot. I think this will lead me to read more of his stories. There are 5 stories in this book but I liked the last one most of all. Good book. ...more
Judy Gehman
A bit of fluff. I guess this book proves that short stories are not my favorite. I do adore Rumpole. A couple of the stories were good, a couple more were only so-so. I think it's probably very difficult to write a mystery as a short story.
Jan 08, 2010 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Rumpole character is amusing in a British way. I liked the stories, but the mysteries were not very thrilling. Enjoyed the book and will probably pick up some other Rumpole stories when I want something light and silly to read.
H. P. Reed
This is light British comedy not at its best. But it's charming and comfy like a worn pair of slippers, with the predictable Rumpole and his not quite predictable wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed. Like many older couples they rub along with little fuss and bother. She does rather surprise him in one story by returning from a promised Christmas engagement with a school friend before her time. He is pleased thinking she might have missed him, but is philosophic about her real reason for returning earl ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of five holiday stories had be laughing and wondering what was going to happen next. I love how he has named his wife "she who must be obeyed" and how he pushes him from one place to another and at each place he finds someone who had been represented by him or known from a case where a lawyer was needed. It goes from one where a familiar looking Santa who may be a thief, how he was able to get the church renovated including heat was it to keep Old Hack quiet?

When I first started
2009, holiday-themed collection of previously published stories. Slyly witty Horace Rumpole does always seem to be in the midst of chicanery, one way or the other; here he relates five holiday experiences that were less than salubrious, and entirely non-traditional, even for him.

A compilation of five of John Mortimer's later stories about Rumpole, centered around the Christmas Holiday Season, the price is a bit hefty for its size and content, but the stories gently bring you into the world of Ho
Apr 29, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've loved ( or, at least, really liked) every Rumpole book I've read, esp. the 3 omnibuses. Had no idea this book existed til yesterday, so can't wait to read some new (to me) Mortimer. He is a truly missed author to me and, I'm sure many others.

I couldn't wait any longer to start reading this book. I really needed some Rumpole and that it's new (to me; the stories had been previously published in British magazines before being put together in this collection), was an extremely pleasant surpris
Dec 24, 2009 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
Well, if there was ever a Christmas collection that could make me smile and laugh out loud, it's this one. I love Horace Rumpole, his wife Hilda (She Who Must Be Obeyed), and the other characters that populate his world. And I used to think that Leo McKern's portrayal of Rumpole in the PBS series was spot on. This is a small collection of Christmas-related stories that have been published before in various places, but I hadn't read any of them, so it was all new and fresh to me.

How sad that John
Martha Bullen
This book of short stories featuring the immortal Rumpole is a treat to dip into as time allows during the Christmas season. If you haven't encountered Rumpole before, I encourage you to watch some of the Rumpole of the Bailey TV shows which have appeared on PBS in past years. He's a delightful character and was perfectly portrayed by the British actor Leo McKern.

Horace Rumpole is a London barrister well known for defending a disreputable caste of criminals - who, once in a while, are not guilty
Wilde Sky
Feb 09, 2015 Wilde Sky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cantankerous old lawyer goes through a series of trials and tribulations at Christmas.

I thought this collection of short stories was funny / entertaining – none of the plots were that original but the writing and characters were spot on.

If you enjoy old fashioned comedy / gentle crime this is probably worth reading.
Rob Smith
Dec 27, 2015 Rob Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
This is a delightful collection of Rumpole set during the Christmas season. John Mortimer did such a wonderful job with all of his characters and the stories told. This whole set is excellent and well worth reading around Christmas or anytime.

Bottom line: i recommend this book. Ten out of ten points.
Dec 29, 2015 Jocelyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
These magazine shorts don't give John Mortimer the scope he needs to develop his characters and slip in all the clever sub-plots. They aren't bad. They're okay.
Dec 21, 2009 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who doesn't love a tour of the British legal system with Horace Rumpole? These five stories all take place around the Christmas holidays which is never a good time of year for the Rumpoles. They exchange the same gifts each year--he gets a tie and Hilda (She Who Must Be Obeyed) gets lavender water which she sets aside for later, they eat a dinner from the supermarket, and listen to the Queen's Christmas speech. In these stories, the Rumpoles travel to a variety of locations for the holidays, whe ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Belkora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had never read Mortimer's Rumpole stories but have a friend who refers to his wife as She Who Must Be Obeyed. Now I understand. Perfect fireside reading.
Dec 18, 2012 Ronna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rumpole and his dry wit are back at it again in this collection of
short tales centered around Rumpole's Christmas holidays away from the courts. Of course, his wife, Hilda--or 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' is always present. The stories include the annual socks and tie present for Rumpole, and the bottle of lavender water for Hilda.

Each different vacation finds a mystery for Rumpole to solve. He also has remembrances of pre holiday cases with Judge Grave'stone', who offhandedly barks his views from
Dec 30, 2015 Brit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short, easy and enjoyable read. While Rumpole would be unbearable in real life, he is fun as a literary character.
Dec 27, 2014 Midori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
humorous and charming but even more enjoyable if you are familiar with the regulars, e g. she who must be obeyed
Dec 20, 2014 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read for book group. Didn't really catch my attention.
I used to love listening to these on BBC and they definitely hold up in book form. Rumpole, everyone's favorite, slightly curmudgeonly barrister is back with a collection of his Christmas stories including tales of thieves turned good by the spirit of Christmas and spending the holiday at a fat farm.
Mar 29, 2016 Meenakshi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and very sweet
David Flett
Light,amusing but disappointing.
Jan 23, 2016 Ronald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
read SOMETIME in 2010
Dec 08, 2009 Tonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun read - due largely to the fact that I am already a Rumpole fan. There are lots of references to events or situations in previous books, which make more sense if you know what the comments are referring to...Another fun thing about this collection is that it was published posthumously. John Mortimer died last December, so I felt a bit nostaligic as I read this. Isn't it funny how we attach ourselves to certain authors? This book will join the ranks of books that I try to rea ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Murder for Christmas
  • Christmas at The Mysterious Bookshop
  • Slay Bells (Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery, #14)
  • Silent Night: Christmas Mysteries (British Library Crime Classics)
  • Stories
  • A Stillness in Bethlehem (Gregor Demarkian, #7)
  • And Four to Go (Nero Wolfe #30)
  • A Christmas Journey (Christmas Stories, #1)
  • Beware of the Trains (Gervase Fen, #9)
  • Corpus Christmas (Sigrid Harald, #6)
  • Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories
  • Mr. Campion's Lucky Day and Other Stories (Penguin Classic Crime)
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming (Father Christmas Mystery #1)
  • Behind That Curtain (Charlie Chan, #3)
  • Mistletoe Mysteries
  • Merry, Merry Ghost (Bailey Ruth, #2)
  • The Mammoth Book of Egyptian Whodunnits
  • Mistletoe and Murder (Daisy Dalrymple, #11)

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
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

Share This Book

“They won’t be guilty until twelve honest citizens come back from the jury room and pronounce them so. In this country we’re still hanging on to the presumption of innocence, if only by the skin of our teeth.” 0 likes
“We are there to make an adversarial system work,” 0 likes
More quotes…