9780670031399 / 0670031399

Rumpole Rests His Case


Publisher:Viking Adult



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About the book:

How much longer will readers be treated to new stories featuring irreverent and irascible London barrister Horace Rumpole? The character was created for British television in the 1970s by John Mortimer, who once said that he'd continue writing Rumpole tales only so long as actor Leo Kern could portray him on the tube. If Kern's death in July 2002 means that Rumpole Rests His Case is the beginning of the end, then at least this series concludes on a high and humorous note.

The seven yarns collected here find the rumpled Rumpole defending his usual assortment of eccentric clients, while also fending off antismoking zealots, interior designers with a taste for lava lamps, and his domineering wife, Hilda ("known to me only as She Who Must Be Obeyed"). One story teams the elderly advocate with an elusive Afghan doctor who was smuggled into the U.K. in a crate of mango chutney, and now seeks to become a legal resident. In another, Rumpole investigates an assault, apparently committed by an unmanageable teenager with a poetic streak, while a third case has the barrister working for a hypocritical right-wing politician who, after first seducing away the wife of one of Rumpole's colleagues, is accused of a drug offense. Cleverest of all, though, is the title tale, in which a hospital-confined Rumpole builds the defense for one of his roommates, a "reformed" thief with an unlikely connection to the aged major who shot him during a residential break-in. With his own unreformed taste for claret and cheroots, Rumpole persists in being an entertaining, old-fashioned thorn in the silk-covered side of Britain's judicial system. Could somebody please tell Mortimer that it's too soon for this character to hang up his wig? --J. Kingston Pierce

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