- Paperback: 161 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 26, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143117912
- ISBN-13: 978-0143117919
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,344,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Rumpole Christmas: Stories Paperback – October 26, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
As this fine holiday collection shows, Mortimer (1923–2009) could tell lovely tales that end with a gentle punch. Each of the five stories highlights English barrister Horace Rumpole's quirky personality, his love of food and drink, and life with his formidable wife, Hilda (aka She Who Must Be Obeyed). But most of all, each illustrates Rumpole's sense of justice and commitment to the law as well as his dry wit. As usual, Rumpole overshadows plots that often focus on the barrister trying to ignore the holiday. Rumpole and Father Christmas suggests that even a career criminal can get the holiday spirit. A businessman's past is used to secure funds for a church in Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces. The most timely is the twisty Rumpole and the Christmas Break, about a murdered professor and an Islamic student with a religious vendetta against her. This is a perfect stocking stuffer for Mortimer fans. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist, and former practicing barrister who has written many film scripts as well as stage, radio, and television plays, the Rumpole plays, for which he received the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. He is the author of twelve collections of Rumpole stories and three acclaimed volumes of autobiography.
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Top Customer Reviews
Rumpole of the Bailey. Quoter of Worsdworth and Shakespeare. Smoker of smelly cigars. Husband of She Who Must Be Obeyed. Sipper of the occasional glass of Chateau Thames Embankment. Defender of presumed innocence until proven guilty. Hero of the Penge Bungalow Murders. Curmudgeon Extraordinaire.
I love the Rumpole stories. I first met him on PBS Mystery, played by Leo McKern, the Australian actor who came to be identified with Rumpole. McKern died in 2002. And now Rumpole's creator is gone as well.
But Rumpole lives on, in "A Rumpole Christmas," a delightful collection of five stories published in magazines and newspapers over the past 12 years.
In "Rumpole and Father Christmas," our barrister meets an old friend (of sorts) playing Father Christmas at the office holiday party. Meets him, that is, as he's returning things he stole during the party. In "Rumpole's Slimmed-Down Christmas," Rumpole's wife Hilda has booked them at a health farm during the holidays - and Rumpole finds himself defending the owner of the health farm against a charge of murder. In "Rumpole and the Boy," he finds himself the object of admiration of a boy who wants to be a barrister just like him. "Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces" shows how the old British holiday tradition of a pantomime can unravel the best-laid plans to frame someone for a crime they didn't commit. And in "Rumpole and the Christmas Break," Horace is defending a Muslim student accused of murdering a professor - and wondering what his wife is up to with Justice Graves (the Gravestone, as Rumpole calls him).
These are all vintage Rumpole stories - well done, charming, funny, and just the right amount of Mortimer's pointed and insightful wit.
Rumpole and Father Christmas....page 1
Rumpole's Slimmed-down Christmas...9
Rumpole and the Boy.....................57
Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces...75
Rumpole and the Christmas Break......109
Each story is great in itself. They blend the courtroom drama and eclectic court characters with Horace Rumpole's investigative techniques even as he attempts to defend those who sometimes are the guilty, or at least appear so. He fights for the little guys, and his wife, Hilda (known to Rumpole as She Who Must Be Obeyed) keeps him cornered on the home front. Even with just these 5 Rumpole stories, you will get hooked on this lovable barrister (courtroom defender) who to the criminally retched is a sort of Robin Hood of The Bailey (criminal court).
Rumpole is to the UK courtroom what DCI Barnaby is to crime investigation in "Midsomer Murders". Both bloody good fun dealing with the mystery and criminal element.
All the familiar elements of the Rumpole literature are present here. Wife Hilda forcing Rumpole to a "fat farm" for the holidays; continual run-ins (both official and social) with several of the "dear old darling" judges of which Rumpole is so fond; several challenging murders to untangle; some excellent Rumpole in court scenes; and forced visits again engineered by Hilda to various of her old school friends in remote and freezing locales to spend the holidays. I found the writing as crisp and well-constructed as other Rumpole stories. I was surprised, though, that the stories had relatively little to do with Christmas, which is the theme of the collection.
You can whip through these last stories pretty quickly--I tried to ration myself and was not always successful. As much as one enjoys these further glimpses of Horace Rumpole at work and play, as I drew toward the end of the collection I experienced some sadness since no more stories (as far as we know) will be forthcoming. But there is plenty of enjoyment and fun to be had in these final 161 pages--but I do wish there could be more!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My kindle so I can read them again and again. I like the author' s sense of humor.Read more