Quite Honestly

( 4 )


From the creator of the Rumpole stories—a novel of middle-class do-gooding gone awry

Fans of John Mortimer and his popular Rumpole mysteries will love Quite Honestly, a comedy filled with a delightful cast of characters and Mortimer’s unique and entertaining take on a life of crime. Life couldn’t be better for Lucinda Purefoy—college educated, with a steady boyfriend and a job offer in advertising. With all this good fortune, isn’t it appropriate for her to give something back ...

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Quite Honestly

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From the creator of the Rumpole stories—a novel of middle-class do-gooding gone awry

Fans of John Mortimer and his popular Rumpole mysteries will love Quite Honestly, a comedy filled with a delightful cast of characters and Mortimer’s unique and entertaining take on a life of crime. Life couldn’t be better for Lucinda Purefoy—college educated, with a steady boyfriend and a job offer in advertising. With all this good fortune, isn’t it appropriate for her to give something back to society? Armed with only good intentions, she joins Social Carers, Reformers and Praeceptors (SCRAP, for short), a misguided organization that recruits women to becomes guides, philosophers, and friends to ex-convicts coming out of prison. Once she meets her charge, Terry Keegan, the ensuing hilarity and mishaps produce a signature Mortimer tale, full of wit and surprise.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The indomitable Mortimer (Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders, etc.) is back with a new cast of quixotic characters. Lucinda Purefoy (Lucy), daughter of a liberal Anglican bishop and his gin-soaked wife, graduates from university with a hankering to repay her debt to society, so she joins SCRAP (Social Carers, Reformers and Praeceptors), a volunteer organization that pairs a do-gooder with a done-badder on release from prison. The idea is to ease the ex-con's transition into society. Or, as Lucy introduces herself to her "client" Terry Keegan, "I'm your guide and philosopher." Keegan, a young man from the wrong side of Ladbroke Grove, started pinching bottles of whiskey with his schoolmate Chippy when he was 12; now he's getting out of the big house after doing three years for breaking and entering. He knows his transition would be much easier without the likes of Lucy and sets out to lose her at the first opportunity. Complications ensue, especially when Chippy (now Leonard) McGrath, who has established a false front as an environmentally concerned businessman to disguise his thriving crime organization, enters the scene. Told in a nimble he-said, she-said format, the narrative cartwheels across all that is sanctimonious about prison reform for a delectable undoing of do-gooders. (Mar. 27) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fate throws together a cinematically mismatched pair; Cupid deftly aims his arrows; cute fun ensues. Taking a breather from legal thrillers (Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders, 2004, etc.), Mortimer serves up a sweet love story. Twentysomething Lucy is bored. Her dad's a namby-pamby Anglican bishop who preaches craven Christianity Lite, her mom's a respectable lush, her boyfriend's less than thrilling. She burns for a challenge. So Lucy volunteers for SCRAP, a sodality of Social Careers, Reformers and Praeceptors that enlists wide-eyed women to serve as guides, philosophers and friends to ex-cons fresh from the pokey. SCRAP is filled with daft and cheery liberals convinced that even society's throat-slitters are merely misunderstood. Lucy is initially not so sanguine about her first assignment, Terry. More Artful Dodger than Jack the Ripper, he's just a delinquent, if not juvenile. But Terry is easy on the eyes, and his prison reading habits (Dostoevsky and sundry Great Books) hint at hidden depths. Soon enough, his surliness fades in the face of Lucy's sunshine, and she's smitten by his not-so-rough-trade charm. Desperate to bond by penetrating the mysteries of his criminal mind, she asks, "Why do you steal?" When Terry replies, "Excitement," well, it's no more Ms. Nice Girl. Lucy begins a mini-career as a light-fingered burglar. His tentative macho threatened by her prowess, panicked Terry decides it's his turn to reform her. Class-struggle humor, nifty slang and mild social commentary bolster the slight plot, as do nicely rendered tours both of London's seedy demimonde and pricier real-estate plots. A witty Brit bagatelle and a romantic comedy tailor-made for the multiplex.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143038641
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist, and former practicing barrister who has written many film scripts as well as stage, radio, and television plays, the Rumpole plays, for which he received the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. He is the author of twelve collections of Rumpole stories and three acclaimed volumes of autobiography.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 12, 2009

    I Like John Mortimer wit

    This is typical of his light, humorous stuff with a clear social commentary edge. I like his delicate and yet insightful view of the law and society, so I enjoyed the book. Not as much as the Rumple series of which I am a very big fan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2009


    Light criminal read.

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  • Posted June 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    good story, interesting characters, occasionally makes you think a bit...

    I have read a few other John Mortimer books; this was OK but I think I like the Rumpole stories better. This was interesting in the way it was written (first person with very other chapter written by one of the two main characters - so you would get each of their viewpoints on the same event). Plenty of interesting characters and it does provide Mortimer's usual combination of humorous observations and a well told story.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Fabulous thought provoking tale

    Recently graduated from Manchester University with a degree in social sciences, Lucinda Purefoy feels good about her future. Perhaps because of her being an offspring of a caring liberal Anglican bishop, Lucinda believes she should thank society for her opportunities. Thus the idealistic Lucinda joins the volunteer group SCRAP (Social Careers, Reformers and Preceptors) that assigns one of their compassionate guides with a recently released former convict to expedite the ex prisoner¿s return into society. P Lucinda meets her objective burglar Terry Keegan as he is released from Wormwood Scrubs after he spent three years behind bars for breaking and entering. Terry wants nothing to do with the do-gooder so he plans to dump her in the first fast food place he finds. However, stubborn Lucinda is like dry mustard refusing to come off even when Terry visits his childhood crony Leonard ¿Chippy¿ McGrath seeking work. Chippy is an environmentally concerned businessman, who Lucinda will soon learn runs a vast crime complex P QUITE HONESTLY is a fabulous look at society using a rotational point of view between how Lucinda sees her need to help Terry and his perspective that she is a pain in the rump. The story line is fast-paced and filled with amusement as John Mortimer looks closely in his ironic manner at incarceration and prison reform through his Good Samaritan and a former guest of the state. Rumpole aside, this is a fabulous thought provoking tale that will have readers laugh yet ponder the goal of imprisonment and what is best for both society and the ex-con (not necessarily inclusive) to return to the civilian world. Harriet Klausner P

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