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Quite Honestly

3.03  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  62 reviews
The creator of Rumpole of the Bailey returns to the novel with a comic tale of middle-class do-gooding gone awry

Thousands of readers have discovered the inimitable voice of John Mortimer through his Rumpole series of stories. But with Quite Honestly, Mortimer creates a cast of characters that rivals his usual Rumpole repertoire, delivering a wonderfully comic novel, pack
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 23rd 2006 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2005)
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3.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  404 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: uk-crime
3 stars
I borrowed this book from the library, expecting a humorous mystery with characters similar to Horace Rumpole and his wife Hilda, "She who must be Obeyed." But this was a humorless book with not much mystery. It was more of a character study. A do good-er young woman, Lucy Purefoy, fresh out of college, volunteers for SCRAP, an organization dedicated to helping released convicts reintegrate into society and not re-offending. Her first case is Terry Keegan. She falls in love with him and s
May 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Meh. Here's the story in a nutshell: Lucinda is a blithering idiot, the offspring of a mother who is mostly a lush most of the time, and a father who is a bishop in the Church of England, despite his oddly irreligious views. Lucinda graduates from college, blithering idiotness notwithstanding, and decides she should give back, do some good in the world. An annoying friend suggests she join a group who helps newly-released prisoners get re-established in the real world. Lucinda is assigned to Ter ...more
David Hilton
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love the Rumple books and it probably isn't fair to compare. Just because an author writes one kind of book brilliantly, what right does his audience have to demand that all his books sparkle? None. Which is why I really should let JKR off the hook for disappointing with The Casual Vacancy, a perfectly ordinary but not horrid book that falls so far short of Harry the gulf couldn't be spanned by the Brooklyn Bridge. So, Quite Honestly is no Rumple. Still, I kind of loved it.

Quite Honestly is un
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I might have enjoyed it more because I bought it at the dollar store on a whim and then had a good long plane ride to get settled into it, but it was sweet. The characters were sweet, the way of writing was JUST foreign enough that it was quirky, but not difficult... I'd have to call it "charming"... it was small, but not smarmy, not brilliant, not awful. It wasn't superfluous. I was compelled to keep going back to it to see how it wrapped up, and it wrapped up solid.
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Frivolous fun, good entertaining read. Well written froth, with plenty of humor, and a few pokes at the justice system.

I actually read this through a second time, having read a several years ago (don't you hate it when you realize this?!), and still enjoyed it.
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Fun light reading. I liked the voices of Lucy and Terry (which told the same story from different viewpoints) and enjoyed the array of goofy characters which peopled this book. Maybe I'll proceed to some Rumpole...
Two Readers in Love
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
An amusing she said/he said comedy, where both the hard-line and soft approaches to law and religion are gently mocked. An enjoyable light comic read.

Lagniappe: Several references to "Mad Bull" Bulligham and a cameo appearance by Mr. Frobisher.
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
I really looked like a Brit on holiday while reading this book by the pool! It was predictable but OK. The UK writing style and language took some getting used to, but it wasn't terrible, just not my type of book.
Jun 20, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
Life couldn't be better for Lucinda Purefoy: she's college educated with a steady boyfriend and a job offer in advertising. With all this good fortune, isn't it appropriate for her to give something back to society? Armed with only good intentions and her newly minted membership in Social Carers, Reformers and Praeceptors (SCARP, for short)--a misguided organization that recruits women to become guides, philosophers, and friends to ex-convicts coming out of prison--Lucy finds herself standing ou ...more
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Lucy Purfoy who has always wanted “to do a little good in the world" finds an a venue for her avocation when she signs on as a volunteer with SCRAP (Social Carers, Reformers, and Preceptors), a group that tries to help ex-convicts transition back into life outside prison in this satire by John Mortimer. Her first assignment is Terry Keegan a career thief who has just been released from prison with idea that freedom meant that he could run his own life. Terry and Lucy take turns narrating chapter ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Oh my. I wanted to love it, began to think Mortimer was just coasting and the book was going to be a tremendous deflation, and finally got rather interested after a large plot development, and in the end felt it was a bit less than it should have been. I give it 3 stars because Mortimer writes quite well, even if he's largely traversing the same patch throughout much of his books, and the aforesaid plot twist really amped up the interest level. On the other hand...the denouement just left this r ...more
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommendations
This is a wonderful little book. Many have said that it lacks substance, or is simply "airplane reading" but au contraire. It was short, witty, and the ending was, quite honestly, very amusing. I am very much in love with John Mortimer's writing style, and it is refreshing to see something published that seems to be just a little something that the author jotted down while in a pleasant mood. I highly recommend reading this, albeit with and open mind, and don't put it down without finishing the ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Just far too predictable and very often far-fetched, but nevertheless just about entertaining enough for me to read to the end in order to satisfy my curiosity that that my predictions were indeed correct. A few very drole descriptions and observations, but not a patch on the Rumpole series, which is more in line with what I was hoping for when I selected it. In fact, it was description of the goings-on in the courtroom which I found the most amusing - evidently Mr. Mortimer’s forte. I had inten ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, crime, fiction, romance
Lucy Purefoy is a woman on a mission to reform career criminal Terry. These two from the opposite of the tracks form a romantic relationship that comes with a twist.
I am not sure what I was expecting with this book, but what I ended up with I am still puzzled over. Lucy, comes across as a stuck up do gooder, who flits from one romance to another. The meeting of Terry is meant be to something special but all I get is that she wants to know why he steals. There just did not seem to be a chemistry
Lynn Pribus
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Disappointing. Of course, hardly anything measures up to Rumpole, but this strange tale of a Sweet Young Thing doing good by trying to keep a Bad Boy Just Released from being returned to the nick was just so unlikely. Meh.

I gave up in the middle of CD #3 and took up listening to ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE on CD which I previously read in hardcover. I liked it so much, I probably sped through it and with CDs I have to slow down. I find myself returning to the beginning of a track to listen again
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Very different from the typical Mortimer / Rumpole mystery. Lucy is a 20-something do-gooder who becomes a volunteer for an organization that provides preceptors to ex-convicts. Her first client, Terry, is a thief with whom she falls in love and wants to fully understand. Her idea of empathy has unexpected results. Sort of a romantic comedy. Enjoyable but not great.
Ali Miremadi
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A very late Mortimer and not his best. The structure of the plot which has the two principal characters gradually swapping places reminded me of Martin Amis’ ‘Success’, though this is a warm and forgiving novel, which no-one could say of Martin Amis’ stuff. Still, John Mortimer below his best is still a writer with whom it is enjoyable to spend time.
JJ Harris
Sep 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Awful. No real story. Some Mortimer wit, but very little. Like written by one of his Rumpole characters, Claude Erskine Brown, say.
Anthony R. Vecchiarelli
Readable; not nearly as funny as advertised; a story of role reversal; it does kill time.
Christina Gagliano
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I like the Rumpole books better. This one was, while amusingly written, very predictable.
Mary Lou
Feb 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Just okay - nothing special or memorable.
Bishop's daughter Lucinda Purefoy has decided she wants to give something back to society, and takes up as a volunteer with SCRAP, an organisation set up to keep offenders on the straight and narrow when they finally come out of prison. Her first case is Terry, a petty thief who doesn't' seem remotely interested in anything Lucinda can offer. But, in alternating chapters told by Lucinda and Terry in turn, the story develops. Sadly, this book is a disappointment; the characters don't seem real, t ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Certainly not a Rumpole - very different. She wanted to "do some good in the world", but is was a funny way of going about it! A light, easy-read, but not much depth and rather improbable in many places. I just got cross with her. And as for her father the Bishop - well, I've worked in the Church of England, and far-fetched just doesn't go nearly far enough!
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-read
This was entertaining enough to warrant finishing, but this story lacked a little something. I think there was a chance for this to be a really great and fun little book, but it fell just short on all levels.

I'm not mad that I read this book, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone else or seek out other books by the author.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
An entertaining, plot driven book. This disposable thoughtless look at quirky people, their interesting relationships, and astounding 'britishness' was the right combination of movement and wit to make it worth an airplane read. Don't expect much.
Conrad Haas
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Mortimer offers offers separate views of an interaction between two people, one aimed at helping others and another coming out of prison in an current English setting. So far, their different perceptions are quite revealing and interesting.
Marc Gacy
Not a Rumpole story, although still quite good. A few Rumpole stalwarts do make cameo appearances however.

The book is clearly an experiment in the he said/she said category of books and it is surprising how well a crusty old man can write from the point of view of a mid-twenties woman
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
I loved Mortimer's earlier works, and Rumpole and his Chateau Thames Embankment are part of my everyday life. However, this novel was rather disappointing, and had it been by anyone else I would not have read past page 10. It was simply boring and rather dated.
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
A quite witty look at social liberals and their misguided goals. Also a sting to the Church of England. Very enjoyable with very little foul language.
Unreliable Booknerd
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is very light-reading!! It has light comedy and I was smiling till the end of the pages.
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John Clifford Mortimer was 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.

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