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Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders (Rumpole of the Bailey #13)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,391 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
Often mentioned but never before revealed, it's high time Rumpole committed to paper his memories of the Penge Bungalow affair. It would be an affront to history if the details of such a famous case were lost in the mists of time.

Horace Rumpole was a novice at the Old Bailey when the murders at the Penge Bungalow first hit the headlines: two war heroes who'd flown numerou
Paperback, Penguin Celebrations #29, 215 pages
Published September 6th 2007 by Penguin (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jason Koivu
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, fiction, mystery
After reading four or five of the books and seeing a few of the tv show episodes based on them, the notoriety of London Barrister Horace Rumpole's greatest case "The Penge Bungalow Murders," much mentioned by himself, had reached legendary status. Yet, I'd never read about it. I didn't know the details, and so it took on a mysterious mythology. Unable to take the suspense any longer, I finally and joyously read John Mortimer's Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders.

This might be my favorite Rump
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was aware of Rumpole. Had watched a few of the episodes. John Mortimer was a regular on the interview circuit for many years and I always enjoyed what he had to say. Inevitably an intelligent mix of pertinent observations on the world and delightful one-liners. Yet it took me until now to read a Rumpole novel. The downside is that I've missed out on a treat: here is a legal miscreant to go alongside Frost and Wexford: the upside is that I've got it all to come. A golden new seam has been opene ...more
Rob McMonigal
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Returned to an old friend as the audio book reading continues. I am a huge fan of the character of Horace Rumpole, the cantankerous old barrister who thrives on saying--under his breath of course--all the things we'd like to say to pompous lawyers, judges, and various other people that tend to act far more important than they really are.

This time around, Rumpole finally gets around to telling us about the case that put him on the map--the Penge Bungalow Murders. Longer than most Rumpole stories,
Robert Hobkirk
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the Rumpole series, he is continually referring to his first murder trial where he got the wrongly accused off and cheated the hangman out of his day's pay. Mortimer always lifts my spirits with his wit and true to life characters. If you have never read John Mortimer, check him out. He's brillant as the Brits say.
Michael Marstellar
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
Audacious, witty and sparring with the biased snobbery judge barrister Horace Rumpole delights in what he states in both the TV show played by Leo McKern and in the books, I'm assuming the books (this is the first book I read/listened to of the RUMPOLE series) since Rumpole, in the show, so frequently brings-up this case as his greatest case.

The audiobook version is read by Bill Wallis who I, at first, was disappointed it wasn't Leo McKern reading the book, but my disappointment quickly changed
Oct 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Readers of Rumpole of the Bailey, written 30 years ago when Rumpole was 68, will recall that he decided not recount his famous victory in the Penge Bungalow murders alone and without a leader. He said that he could hardly recognize that younger version of himself.

Here he relents as he approaches his centenary year, thanks to the health giving benefits of Chateau Thames Embankment, and tells the story he omitted so long ago. Not surprisingly, he actually remembers his younger self quite well and
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rumpole is a great character, and the TV series certainly captures John Mortimer's defense lawyer to a "T." I was perfectly content with Rumpole as played by Leo McKern, and felt no need to read the stories (which in any event wrere brough to the screen practically word for word); but with McKern's death, Mortimer has written an end to screen adaptations of his character. Not so with the books and stories, however, and "Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders" is a welcome addition to the continu ...more
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
In the twelve preceding books in this series, Rumpole has never missed an opportunity to celebrate his first big victory in the Penge Bungalow murders case. Now we get to hear that story completely for the first time.

Bravo to Rumpole for believing in innocent until proven guilty and fighting for his client all the way. About three quarters through I sort of figured it out, but thrilled to see Rumpole pull it off.

Perhaps better read later than as a first, but great nonetheless.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-the-farm
This is the first Rumpole book that I have read and I really liked it. It wasn't much of a "who done it", but the dry British wit more than made up for the lack of suspense. Looking forward to reading more of them.
At last John Mortimer has finally rewarded his fans with the case he he been teasing us with for years. The infamous Penge Bungalow Murders! How great to get a glimpse of the young Rumpole!
Finally! The whole story of the Penge Bungalow Murders is revealed. Long time fans of Rumpole will be delighted.
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rumpole is in the process of writing his memoirs in which he hopes to record factual records of his significant prior cases. One of his earliest cases involved a young man who was accused of murdering his father and one of his father’s friends from the RAF during the war after a night of drinking. Rumpole was initially involved as an assistant to an established lawyer and was only supposed to help out by doing research and bei
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sitting down to write his memoirs Rumpole reflects on his very first case and how he came to be the chief defender in it.

It is the early 1950s and two former RAF heroes are found murdered in their respective bungalows in Penge. Simon Jerold, the son of one of the victims, is accused and everyone believes him to be guilty, particularly C H Wystan, engaged as his QC.

Rumpole, however, has other ideas and his line of questioning leads to Wystan withdrawing and leaving him as the main man for the de
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, humorous
Maybe I am being a bit tough with my ratings. I like this, but I prefer the mature, confident Rumpole who insults judges and is subtly subversive in chambers (well, not all that subtly when I think about it). I like to read this from time to time to remind me of how it all started.
Maze Branch Oak Park Public Library
Donna led this discussion on 02/02/16.

This book is the "first in time" in the Rumpole series.
Katy Mulvaney
I have a deep abiding affection for Rumpole of the Bailey for personal reasons (thanks for sharing your love, Dad!) which makes it hard to figure out the quality.

There's a basic cleverness of the prose of the novels, and the book weighs the trials, tribulations, and true ethical dilemmas of a barrister's (or an American lawyer's) work life with an accuracy that is refreshing amidst television's onslaught of lawyer characters who prove the writers have no idea what lawyers do day to day.

I'm also
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a light, enjoyable read I finished in one day. Not a murder story in any conventional sense. If you saw the PBS TV series Rumpole at the Bailey, it is particularly enjoyable. Among other things, it explains how Rumpole and She Who Must be Obeyed ended up married.
I finished this weeks ago but forgot to tell Goodreads.
Clif Hostetler
Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It took me awhile to get into this book, but about halfway through it captured my interest. I had no previous exposure to this series of books so it took me awhile to become familiar with the characters. At first I was put off by the British stuffiness that permeates the narrative. But after awhile it was apparent that the story was making fun of that stuffiness.

The story centers around a young defense attorney (Horace Rumpole in early career) who is an assistant to an older more experienced at
Susan Oleksiw
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Rumpole of the Bailey is one of the most beloved characters in crime fiction for many reasons. He says a lot of the things we’d like to say, he has a rebellious streak that helps him win cases, he always fights for the underdog, and he never compromises with the powers-that-be. In this the only novel-length story about Rumpole, we see how he began, right after passing the bar and finding himself at Equity Court, hoping to build his legal career. Hilda Wystan, she who later becomes She Who Must B ...more
Hannah Louey
Written by John Mortimer, Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders is a surprisingly genuine novel set in the 1950s…despite the fact that it was only written ten years ago.

Told from the perspective of Horace Rumpole, Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders (RPBM) follow the legal case after two war heroes are found dead in their homes. The only suspect – Simon Jerold, the son of one of the victims – a man who was last seen waving a gun and threatening to kill
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audio, mystery, humor, 2012
For the width and breadth of his career, Rumpole has often mentioned his most famous case, the Penge Bungalow Murders, when he went “alone and without a leader” to defend a murderer whom everyone else thought was guilty. Finally, as he realizes that none of the other barristers in his chambers knows the details of the case, he decides to record them in his memoirs for the world (and we lucky few who read them) to discover. A few thoughts:

As usual, this case is full of humor springing from Rumpo
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first exposure to the Rumpole series of books and I was delightfully surprised. Rumpole is writing his memoirs and recalls his first significant case in a series of flashbacks that was a little confusing at first. A young man is accused of murdering his father and a friend of his fathers after a night of drinking with his air force buddies. Rumpole is clerking for C H Wystan, a prominent attorney, whose daughter, Hilda takes a liking to Rumpole and secures for him a seat as second ch ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of John Mortimer's always delightful Rumpole series won't be disappointed in this essential volume. The Penge Bungalow Murders are referred to in every other Rumpole book, because this was the case through which our intrepid and funny barrister made his name.

In this book we also meet She Who Must Be Obeyed, Rumpole's wife Hilda, as a young woman who sets her eye on the inexperienced barrister, new to the law chambers run by her father, C.H. Wystan. When the murder case is given to Wystan, i
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
This may well be the summer I rediscovered my love of Rumpole: reading Mortimer's crusty but benign barrister in London, watching Leo McKern play the rotund defender of justice. But I couldn't end the summer without reading the Rumpole origin story, the case where it all began, when a young Horace Rumpole defended a boy on two charges of murder alone, and without a leader (as he so often mentions in almost every, single story, ever.

Usually, John Mortimer writes Rumpole stories rather than Rumpol
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglophilia
Rumpole, the wine-swilling, poetry-loving barrister, is shocked to find out that the younger generation has never heard of his greatest triumph, the Penge Bungalow Murder Case. So he sets out to write his memoirs of how, as a young barrister, he took on this case despite the objections of his learned friends at the bar, and despite the distractions of various females who seemed interested in dalliance. The case seems open-and-shut : two WWII heroes were found dead one morning. The son of one of ...more
Aug 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Those who have followed beloved barrister Horace Rumpole's career have heard frequent reference to the Penge Bungalow affair but have never known the details of the famous case that established his reputation. Now in this sensational full-length Rumpole novel, Mortimer at last relates the particulars of Rumpole's first case, some fifty years ago when he was but a youthful novice at the Old Bailey.

"Two Second World War heroes have been murdered, and the son of one of the victims has been charge
The first two chapters are forgettable and Rumpole comes off as kind of a jerk. But once they get into the trial itself, the book picks up. The author does a good job maintaining suspense even though the reader knows from the beginning how the trial will turn out. However, it wasn't good enough to make me want to go to the library and get another Rumpole book. This is the kind of book to read when you're at the beach with no internet, no TV, (and possibly no electricity) and only a shelf full of ...more
Rumpole is a defense lawyer. He is writing his memoirs. Specifically about the murder he tried as a green lawyer after his mentor and leader, CT Wystan is taken off the case by Simon, the defendant. Simon takes a liking to Rumpole after Rumpole who is instructed to be the “silent partner” seems to be the only one doing any work on the case. This book is very interesting. It continually goes back and forth from the present to the past, which is some times hard to follow. Simon is accused of murde ...more
Graham Powell
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most of John Mortimer's tales of the barrister Rumpole were longish stories, and though he wrote several Rumpole novels, I always felt that the shorter length suited him better. But now, after finishing "Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders", I may have to change my mind.

Throughout the series, Rumpole is always on about how he won his client's freedom in this case (alone and without a leader, he'd be quick to add), and at last we find out how he did it. In the early 1950s, an ex-RAF pilot and
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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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