Contains 3 Rumpole books: Rumpole of the Bailey; The Trials of Rumpole; and Rumpole's Return.
Horace Rumpole, the Old Bailey hack, shines in this collection of John Mortimer's books. Rumpole is the master of acerbic wit and keen observation. Donned in a wig and robe, he thrusts and parries his way through the English criminal justice system, soldiering on for his mostly shady clients. One of Rumpole's rules is "never plead guilty." He also stands fast on the principle that hearing the truth from one's client can be dangerous. It usually puts the lawyer in an awkward position. Rumpole fortifies himself with an ample supply of little cigars, modestly priced claret, and an old copy of the "Oxford Book of English Verse," from which he quotes Wordsworth and others from memory. Amidst an hilarious ensemble of reappearing supporting characters, Rumpole goes forth daily to fight the good fight and also keep the legal fees and refreshers coming in to the Rumpole bank account. He fears only She Who Must Be Obeyed. His wife, Hilda, who rules their home in Froxbury Court with an iron hand. Written with humor, affection, and intelligence these stories are pure delight. The stories vary in length, but average 40-50 pages. Take Sherlock Holmes and P. G. Wodehouse, mix with Mortimer's background as a barrister, flavor with amusing vernacular and chatty first-person narrative, and you have good lite reading.