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Rumpole and the Reign of Terror

(Rumpole of the Bailey #14)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,008 ratings  ·  104 reviews
John Mortimer's bestselling barrister is back, in his most timely case yet Just in case Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders gave fans the impression that the Great Defender was resting on his laurels, his new case sends him at full sail into our panicky new world. Rumpole is asked to defend a Pakistani doctor who has been imprisoned without charge or trial on suspicion ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Penguin Group (first published October 5th 2006)
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Jason Koivu
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Chris Gager
This short tale will fill in a few days of open reading space and do the job nicely. Is there anyone out there who DOESN'T love Horace Rumpole of the Bailey????? Many hats off to Leo McKern for all his good work in all the things I've seen him in over the years. Movies, mostly.

Poor Rumpole, things are a bit dicey for him at the moment, but of course we know that all will come right at the end. The man is a legal knight with a conscience(and a booming voice) in a troubling modern and senselessly
Petra eXpects nothing & so won't be disappointed
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.
Jill Hutchinson
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
Graham Connors
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I love Mortimer's sense of humour! ...more
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, crime
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Alice
A really fun mystery...quick, light reading. Set in a post 911 London besieged by terrorists. Forget about the facts that it is not too believable and that I suspected the ending. I will be reading more Rumpoles.
Jonkers Jonkers
I found this an easy read and quite enjoyable. The plot is very straightforward and the usual 'Rumpoleisms' are here. ...more
Greg Burton
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  ·  review of another edition
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
I haven't read a Rumpole novel in a while. I thoroughly enjoyed getting reacquainted with this curmudgeonly character! I also enjoyed hearing from "She Who Must Be Obeyed," aka Rumpole's wife. Excerpts of her memoir were included throughout the book and were quite delightful! She didn't seem quite so formidable and harsh as Rumpole makes out. I quite liked her.

In this installment, Rumpole finds himself defending a doctor accused of being a terrorist. He challenged the assertion of the rights of
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read almost all of the Rumpole books and the last two are coming up on my reading list in the next few days.

I have rated most of the books with five stars. I like this book, but...........

In general the Rumpole stories are a tasty mix of wit and courtroom drama with a dash of political or social commentary thrown in, but this book seemed to have far more political commentary than normal.

Rumpole (and I expect this aligns with John Mortimer's view) seems to have quite libertarian political
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mortimer is so in tune with the insults and abuses of authority. Even in the mannered courts of UK he captures the overwhelming tendency toward defending the 'establishment' and sacrificing those who are not immediately part of it. Good natured and well intended people simply don't object to going along with such things. But by hook and crook Rumpole manages to best the system again but the story beggars us to understand the abuse potential of these compromises on due process. ...more
Julie Davis
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though I am not super into lawyer stories, this book was excellent. The plotline in the courtroom was very engrossing and exciting, yes, but there are so many more secrets and drama to be found outside of it. If you like fiction novels or mystery stories of any kind, even if you aren't into lawyer stories, I strongly recommend reading this and the rest of the Rumpole books. ...more
John Peel
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rumpole - sarcastic as ever - is called upon to defend an accused terrorist in this story. He's not at all certain that his client is innocent, but he gives it his best shot. And, as anyone who knows Rumpole knows, his best shot is wicked and wonderful. This is a delightful romp (with serious overtones), culminating in a delicious court case that establishes the truth. An absolute joy to read. ...more
Stacey L Cark
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clever, witty, funny and human

Rumpole defends a terrorist, goes on a vacation, and Hilda writes her memoirs. As anyone who's had a 'career' can tell you, there are ups and downs. In this book, we see Rumpole battle a dreaded dearth of briefs and deal with a cool wind blowing through his marriage. Yet,he deals with it hilariously.
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. ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rumpole defends a man accused of being a terrorist. Those who like Rumpole will enjoy this.

Note on the audio version: It takes a while to get used to Bill Wallis’ reading – very strong British accent.
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Rumpole! He and She Who Must are hilarious. I think it is interesting how— especially in this book— they cover real issues and topics constantly debated in real life! Its fun to be at the other end of a murder mystery!
Jun 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rumpole does it again. Taking care of various clients legal problems while also putting the government to the sword.
Also we get to hear a little of things from Hilda's point of view.
Top notch as always.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brian Waddell
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always enjoy Rumpole!
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first book of Rumpole and i liked what i read, the story connects by the end, however the enigmatic characterization of Rumpole is cherry on the cake.
Andy Gore
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The memoirs of She Who Must are priceless and the usual Rumpole genius.
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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.


Other books in the series

Rumpole of the Bailey (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Rumpole of the Bailey (Rumpole of the Bailey, #1)
  • The Trials of Rumpole
  • Rumpole's Return
  • Rumpole for the Defence
  • Rumpole and the Golden Thread (Rumpole of the Bailey, #5)
  • 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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