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

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  825 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
When Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders — John Mortimer’s first Rumpole novel ever — debuted last year, devoted fans came to it in droves. Now, just in time for Christmas, Mortimer returns with another Rumpole novel to tackle a truly relevant topic with his signature wit and style.

While defending a mind-numbingly dull theft charge, Rumpole finds that the new terrorist
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published November 16th 2006 by Viking Adult
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Jason Koivu
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.

Jill Hutchinson
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Petra X
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jonkers Jonkers
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this an easy read and quite enjoyable. The plot is very straightforward and the usual 'Rumpoleisms' are here.
Greg Burton
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
It is possible the Rumpole magic is lost on me, so Mortimer-lovers might consider me hopeless. I had wanted to read the famous Rumpole stories for some time, and picked this up at a used book sale, only to realize later that the short-story form is where the most famous Rumpole tales can be found. So I started some of them as well, and still missed the magic. I definitely like Rumpole's cantankerous and roundabout-talking voice, and the short stories seem to be the right dosage, though even in t ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Rumpole and the Reign of Terror is a nice short read, filled with Mortimer's signature wit. I found the mystery plot line to be fairly simple, but Mortimer's writing style helped to keep the plot together, and moved it forward without getting stale. What I most enjoyed was not the the story's mystery element but it's wit, as Rumpole seeks to finds his way through a world he clearly does not understand. I was interested from the start, as I came to find the plot interesting and enjoyed it's somet ...more
Julie Davis
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable piece of Rumpole-ia in which we see how the British legal system routinely deals with terrorism cases. Hint - not in the greatest way. Luckily Rumpole's long memory and experience are there to serve a hapless Pakistani doctor who has fallen into the legal system's clutches. I especially enjoyed the way the doctor is almost more British than the British.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A quick and engrossing read. If you like Rumpole you won't be disappointed. Mortimer adds a twist by telling the story both from the perspective of She (via memoirs) and Rumpole. It's an interesting change of pace...also, the story is much more contemporary as it is set post 9/11 and post London terror attacks in the Underground.
Pity Hilda's memoirs don't delve deeper, but then the book is supposed to be about Rumpole and the case he's working on. Also wonder if John Mortimer held back a bit on his characterisation of the accused. Still worth a read.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: tv-tie-in, fiction
I wanted to give this a higher rating but Rumpole's schtick doesn't work so well in the modern era. Plus, the story is pretty thin.
Brian Waddell
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Always enjoy Rumpole!
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
My favorite bit may have been Rumpole & Hilda's trip to Brighton where they stayed at the small and unfashionable Xanadu Hotel. "The Xanadu is by no means a stately pleasure dome."
Sep 30, 2010 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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
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
Oct 10, 2013 rated it liked it
"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 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rumpole-horace
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
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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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