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The First Rumpole Omnibus Paperback – January 3, 1984
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Top Customer Reviews
The problem with most lawyer stories, even those written by lawyers, is that they bear little resemblance to reality. John Mortimer makes Horace Rumpole as real as any fictional lawyer can be, and in the process, Mortimer perfectly captures the joys and woes of trial practice, giving it all a good leavening of humor--something essential to a trial lawyer's retention of sanity.
Mortimer entertains and enlightens. Not only do you get satisfying mysteries told with just the right amount of humor, you also get insight into the foils and foibles of trial lawyers and judges. The book abounds with dead-on insights into the mechanics of trying cases. Any lawyer would benefit from reviewing Rumpole's maxims of trial practice. A few examples:
"As for me, I'm not sure that I like cast iron alibis. They're the sort that sink quickest, to the bottom of the sea."
"A bit of delay, I have found it an infallible rule, never does any harm to the defense."
"It's no help to the defense in an obscenity case to have anyone actually read the works in question."
Mortimer tries to include at least one lawyerly aphorism in each short story in the collection, and part of the joy I find in reading and re-reading the stories comes from searching for these little nuggets of wisdom.
Finally, John Mortimer is one of the masters of modern English prose. Just read a few paragraphs of any airplane novel (preferably one that has "Code" in the title), and then read a few paragraphs of any Rumpole story, and you will see what I mean. And nobody, including Raymond Chandler, does dialog better than John Mortimer.
Here is where we are introduced to Rumpole, ever defender of the downtrodden criminal element, most successful of course when these minor villians have been wrongly accused, at least in the latest particular incident. As Rumpole said once during a defence, the English nation when it is long gone will be remembered for three things -- the English breakfast, the Oxford Book of English Verse (the Quiller-Couch Edition), and the presumption of innocence.
Even in the later story of Rumpole for the Prosecution, in which Rumpole is hired to conduct a private prosecution, he manages to provide through his searching for the truth the best defence for the defendant. Rumpole, it seems, will never be anything but the champion for the defence.
Mortimer is intimately familiar with the legal court setting about which he writes in the Rumpole series; judges such as Bullingham and Graves take their character from amalgamations of actual judges, and Mortimer once let it be known in a television interview that if he saw particular miscarriages of justice done, he would have no choice but to work it in to the plot of an upcoming Rumpole story.
One wonders if Hilda, Rumpole's wife, affectionately referred to as 'She Who Must Be Obeyed', is modeled on anyone specific in Mortimer's life. Other characters in chambers and in the dock seem very true to form, while also remaining interesting exaggerations of real persons.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love it the only two author's that could bring this off is John Mortimer P. G. Woodhouse. I don't laugh at much but I can't stop bursting out in laughter when reading Rumpole.Published 7 months ago by Michele
Fortunately many of these stories were made into videos on BBC and can be seen on YouTube... LOVE them. One thing about Rumpole is that he is always keen on JUSTICE.... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Joanna Mcginn
I was sitting alone at the bar of a coastal saloon in North San Diego with tears streaming down my face. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jeff Kelleher