Horace Rumpole - cigar-smoking, claret-drinking, Wordsworth-spouting defender of some unlikely clients - often speaks of the great murder trial, which revealed his talents as an advocate and made his reputation down at the Bailey when he was still a young man.
Now, for the first time, the sensational story of the Penge Bungalow Murders case is told in full: how, shortly after the war, Rumpole took on the seemingly impossible task of defending young Simon Jerold, accused of murdering his father and his father's friend with a German officer's gun. And how the inexperienced young brief was left alone to pursue the path of justice, in a case that was to echo through the Bailey for years to come.
©2004 John Mortimer (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.
This is John Mortimer's beloved character's quintessence. The case Horace Rumpole did ( alone and without a leader) that was his shining star. Quite humourous at points and always intelligent, this is one of the best books in my collection.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
Finally, after decades of hearing about this famous trial conducted by the Bard of the 'Bailey, "alone, and without a leader", I know the truth about the absent Leader.
Of course, I have know nearly from the start that Rumpole hardly needed a Leader and I had guessed that SWMBO's dearest "Daddy" might be at the heart of the absenteeism, but it is another thing to know the truth. And, as every good trial lawyer will tell you, the truth will come out, no matter what we might do to impede it (albeit in "the best traditions of the Bar"). Still, like all great secrets, shrouded in the mists of myth for decades, when it outs, the truth is not always as surprising as we might hope. That's how I felt about this title.
(There is a bit of a SPOILER coming, so skip the next paragraph now if you don't want to know).
The plot is as good as ever and Rumpole is as cynically and brutally brilliant as ever. But, like all great yarns, it might have been better for this one not to be told. For once I found myself analysing the evidence, which I've never felt the need to do with Mortimer's previous excursions along crime alley. I felt a hint of resentment that the bloodstains I heard so much about, and about we knew so little, were not front and centre. However, I was pleased to learn of the origins of the relationship between Rumpole and Chateau Thames Embankment and his defence of the ever grateful Timsons.
The late Bill Wallis' characterisations are terrific, especially the women. His Hilda is wonderful, but only to be out done by his Dodo. His Rumpole is good too, but no one can capture Horace like Leo McKern, of course. That is not a criticism however, merely a fact.
Again, I am pleased that I listened to this tale, but in the end, if I did not know the whole truth, I would be only a little less enriched.
Again a wonderful listen but not his best. If you are a Rumpole fan you will have to listen to this case, often mentioned in his other works. Bill Wallis does a great job as the narrator. I highly recommend all the Rumpole books.
This is a terrific story, exceptionally well told. I listen on my way home from work, in my car. Made the traffic jams bearable! terrific storyline and great intelligence and wit.
I will listen to more Rumpoles from now on.
"A little too long. Probably for Rumpole fans only"
I like John Mortimer's writing and I am a great fan of the original Rumpole TV series, starring Leo McKern. However, in spite of wanting to like this book, I found it a little tedious. For me it was too long and the story line was not strong enough. It might be that I was so keen to hear about Rumpole’s most famous case that my expectations were too high, or it might have been that I have become used to more complex and fast moving stories. Either way, I would only recommend this for Rumpole fans that want to finally find out what happened in that Penge bungalow. I would however like to give great credit to Bill Wallis, the narrator, who did a great job in providing believable and unique voices to all of the characters.
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