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Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories Paperback – October 30, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A volume sure to be treasured by both old fans and new." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Horace Rumpole, the claret-quaffing barrister who never quite makes the grade but always makes a point, stars in a new collection of his most outrageous exploits . . . Rumpole’s courtroom antics and politically incorrect gaffes have made him a perennial favorite among mystery fans for decades . . . those uninitiated to the irascible barrister’s charm and wit will have much to relish. The collection is an excellent primer to all things Rumpole.” — Library Journal

“Once detective-fiction heroes enter your mental landscape, they can seem as real as your own friends and family. For a lot of people, Horace Rumpole is just such a vivid and familiar figure . . . Rumpole fans can savor a bailiff’s dozen of Rumpole’s seriocomic adventures in Forever Rumpole.” — The Wall Street Journal

“Fourteen of the best of Rumpole’s cases have been gathered for this compilation . . . the disheveled lawyer fielded cases ranging from petty larceny to Islamic terrorism, all with his characteristic tilting at windmills and his biting tongue-in-cheek wit.” — Bookpage (December Top Pick in Mystery)

“John Mortimer’s stories combine a Wodehousian wit with a generous humanism of which the world could use another dollop…it is always a pure pleasure to sit down the the Old Bailey hack.” — Christian Science Monitor

“Horace Rumpole. A character Dickens would have been proud to have created . . . Mortimer’s character came as a revelation to those of us who despaired of ever encountering a lawyer we could love. Who knew courtroom drama could be this much fun? The stories are intelligent, witty, and finely crafted . . . So long as there is sympathy for the sinful and muddled mankind, a delight in humor, an interest in justice, and any love of freedom, Horace Rumpole will indeed be forever.” — American Spectator

“Delightful . . . [Rumpole’s] distinctive voice – crusty, orotund, pointed – is key to what makes these tales such a pleasure to read. . . . This excellent sampling will encourage most readers to go on and read more of the many still available.” — The Washington Times

About the Author

John Mortimer was the author of fourteen other Rumpole books, many of which formed the basis for the PBS-TV series Rumpole of the Bailey. The first book featuring his most famous character, Horace Rumpole, was published by Penguin in 1980. His work also includes many novels and plays and three acclaimed volumes of autobiography. A former barrister, Mortimer, who was knighted in 1998, lived in Oxfordshire, England. He died in January of 2009.

Ann Mallalieu was the first woman president of the Cambridge Union. She has practiced at the Criminal Bar since 1970 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1988. After becoming a Labour Life Peer, she was elected Peer of the Year by parliamentarians in 2004 and in the same year was named Peer of the Year by the Spectator. She lives near John Mortimer’s old house in the Chilterns.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780143122142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143122142
  • ASIN: 0143122142
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Ronald H. Clark VINE VOICE on November 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was quite surprised when after John Mortimer's death in 2009, some Rumpole stories continued to appear. Throughout his 30 years of writing these stories, nearly every Thansgiving/Christmas season brought a new collection or a novel, or at least some of his other writing. This was a hard habit to break after 2009--as it turned out I didn't have to. Several collections of Rumpole Christmas stories allowed me to indulge once again in the joys of reading Mortimer on Rumpole. This 500 page collection just out both surprised and thrilled me. It consists of 14 stories, and a fragment [of but a few pages] of a story Mortimer was working on when he died, "Rumpole and the Brave New World." There is also a personal warm introduction by the distinguished QC and Life Peer Ann Mallalieu, who as a young barrister was junior to Mortimer on several cases, and who retained a friendship with him for many decades.

The book claims that these are the "best" Rumpole stories, and there is some support for this. Included are the introduction and 7 stories from Mortimer's 1993 collection, "The Best of Rumpole," which for Mortimer meant the stories he most enjoyed writing. Then there are 7 more stories and the fragment. I dispute that these are the "best" stories only because I thought all of the Rumpole stories were the best. I think one had to listen to Mortimer in person, as I was honored to do several years before his death here in Washington, to fully appreciate his unique sense of humor and skill as a storyteller. Ms. Mallalieu recounts Mortimer telling her that due to his senior maladies, he was only pain free when on stage, and that was certainly true the night we saw him.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark vonSchlegell on November 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Forever Rumpole" is an extended version of the early 90s Penguin book "The Best of Rumpole." That book featured seven stories handpicked by the author for what he considered to be Rumpole's best stories. This book expands on those original seven by adding seven more (side note: the Folio Society edition of "The Best of Rumpole" added an eighth story - Rumpole and the Bright Seraphim, which is not included here) plus an unfinished Rumpole tale by John Mortimer that sees print for the first time in this volume. You also get the intro by Mortimer from the original "Best of..." volume. The book covers stories (in publishing order) from the 80s up to the time of Mortimer's death. As always, there will be some discussion as to whether these tales constitute Rumpole's "best" and a few of the Rumpolians of the world will probably take umbrage that "their" favorites weren't included (I know of two tales I'd have loved to have seen in this book but...cest la vie) but what is here is pretty darn good in and of itself. This is the kind of book you'd give somebody if they had never heard of the character but wanted to find out about him. For the hardcore Rumpole fan, it's a nice book to have on hand on the nightstand for when you want a quick Rumpole fix in the middle of the night. This is a fantastic book and a confirmation of the wonderful writing style of the late, lamented John Mortimer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I discovered Horace Rumpole right about the time of John Mortimer's death three years ago. I began reading the stories in a rather hit-or-miss fashion, so I was pleased to find one book with 15 or so previously published stories. Unlike some other reviewers, all the stories were new to me, so I was quite satisfied with the book.

Curiously, the very first book of Mortimer/Rumpole I read was "Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders", which he wrote many years after beginning the Rumpole series. That "case", of course, was the case that made Horace Rumpole's reputation and was often referred to but never explained til that book.

Mortimer was a very clever writer. This group of stories - not quite "short stories", but maybe "novellas" - which I think were printed in the order they were originally written, bring the same on-going characters, Rumpole, "She Who Must be Obeyed", Guthrie Featherstone, Claude Erskine-Brown and his lovely wife, and many others, along in each story as a sort of sense of "continuity". The cases themselves may change, and the minor characters are different in each novella, but the main group of characters remain the same. It's wonderful for a reader to discover "old friends" in new settings.

The only warning I would give about this new book, "Forever Rumpole", is that old fans of the series should check carefully the table of contents to see if they've read the stories. I think some readers might be disappointed to find no new stories - other than the fragment of "Rumpole and the Brave New World", which he was working on at his death in 2009.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Felicia H. Wilson on December 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although any inveterate Rumpolian probably already has many of these stories in their collection, seven of the fourteen were Mortimer's favorites-the ones he enjoyed writing the most. The remaining seven are representative of the best of Mortimer's later work, including a fragment of a novel upon which he'd just embarked shortly before his death in January 2009. They are all delightful, and with the excellent introduction by Ann Mallalieu, who knew and worked with John Mortimer, the volume is a must-have for those of us who dearly love our inimitable Old Bailey hack.
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