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December 5, 2011

Forever Rumpole – a wonderful read

by Val Reynolds

Forever Rumpole  contains what John Mortimer described as the best of the Rumpole stories.  Fourteen stories, the first published in 1978, the last in 2004 together with the text of the last, unfinished, story – Rumpole and the Brave New World.

Mortimer had a truly unique style of writing and great powers of description …

I didn’t sleep well that night. Whether it was the Majestic mattress, which appeared to be stuffed with firewood, or the sounds, as of a giant suffering from indigestion, which reverberated from the central heating, or mere anxiety about the case, I don’t know. At any rate Albert and I were down in the cells as soon as they opened.

Mortimer was an excellent raconteur with a fund of stories to tell. His after dinner speeches were legendary and Anne Mallalieu, who worked with him for many years, describes a dinner where he had an audience of over a thousand people in the palm of his hand, a gift given to a very few.

I had a wonderful time with Rumpole, going to and from the Bailey, Wormwood Scrubs, meeting his most valued clients the Timsons, going home to Hilda, She Who Must be Obeyed, at 25B Froxbury Mansions in Gloucester Road, having a drink in Pommeroy’s Wine Bar, and getting to meet his colleagues Miss Phillida Trant, Claude Erskine-Brown and Uncle Tom among many others.

This book is an excellent bedtime read, it will send you asleep in a good humour!

To find out much more about Rumpole here is an excellent website

Forever Rumpole is published by Penguin Viking  ISBN 978 0 670 91936-9

Reviewed by Philippa Green, contributing author

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