Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders

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Thursday 26 August 2010

Yesterday I did something I have never done before - I wrote a post for someone else blog.

It was for a blog called Vanishing point, by a guy called Ben. I have never met him before I have enjoyed following his blog for a while now especially his rants and raves about a whole range of topics.

Anyway here is a link to his blog, Vanishing Point (check it out) and here is my book review:


Rumpole and The Penge Bungalow Murders
By John Mortimer (2004)

Horrace Rumpole is perhaps the most lovable and best-known fictional criminal defence barrister. His career and stories have spanned many decades and all manner and types of criminal offences. But as any Rumpole fan would know, his finest hour came in only his second case at the bar, when, without a leader, he defended Simon Jerold in Rumpole’s most often referred to case: the Penge Bungalow Murders.

At the end of a long line of both stories and cases, Rumpole (that is, Mortimor) recounts the plight of young Jerold who is accused of murdering both his father and a family friend with a pistol taken from a dead German pilot. In what appears to be a seemingly overwhelming prosecution case, Rumpole has to battle against a legal fraternity who has turned his back on Jerold and thus Rumpole, a Detective Superintendent who was “the sort of straight-backed, poker-up-the-backside, pursed-lipped policeman” who had no time for Rumpole and his shenanigans, all while dealing with the “usual courtroom terrors of a white wig (junior barrister): sweaty hands, dry mouth and a strong temptation to run out of the door and take up work as a quietly unostentatious bus conductor or lavatory attendant”.

While it was this trial and its outcome that set Rumpole up for his life at the criminal bar, it also lovingly recounts Rumpole’s unintended courtship of his future wife Hilda (who is subsequently and perhaps inappropriately referred to as “She who must be obeyed). Reflecting on life, love and the law, Rumpole, at one point, almost directly speaks to the reader: “I don't know what you think about being young. To me, it's a time for growing used to disappointment.”. Whether young or old, this book is definitely no disappointment, as Rumpole, the eccentric defender of justice and reciter of poetry, in my view, is near his best.


Jessica said...

All I know about Rumpole is the theme tune. It's very good.

Tezzabopper said...

What are you missing, Jess, if you haven't read all the Rumpole stories. Forget about the TV series, entertaining as it is, and read these unforgettable stories do an unforgettable character"... And Hilda, too, of course.

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