Rumpole and the Reign of Terror

( 6 )


John Mortimer's bestselling barrister is back, in his most timely case yet

Just in case Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders gave fans the impression that the Great Defender was resting on his laurels, his new case sends him at full sail into our panicky new world. Rumpole is asked to defend a Pakistani doctor who has been imprisoned without charge or trial on suspicion of aiding Al Qaeda. Meanwhile, on the home front, She Who Must Be Obeyed is threatening to share her ...

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John Mortimer's bestselling barrister is back, in his most timely case yet

Just in case Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders gave fans the impression that the Great Defender was resting on his laurels, his new case sends him at full sail into our panicky new world. Rumpole is asked to defend a Pakistani doctor who has been imprisoned without charge or trial on suspicion of aiding Al Qaeda. Meanwhile, on the home front, She Who Must Be Obeyed is threatening to share her intimate view of her husband in a tell-all memoir. The result is Rumpole at his most ironic and indomitable, and John Mortimer at his most entertaining.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Eighty-three-year-old barrister turned author John Mortimer is back with another installment in his popular mystery series featuring the rotund London criminal lawyer Horace Rumpole. In Rumpole and the Reign of Terror, the grumpy barrister is faced with his most difficult -- and timely -- case to date: defending a Pakistani doctor accused of being a terrorist.

Always ready to defend a liberal cause, Rumpole gets more than he bargained for when he agrees to represent Mahmood Khan, who has been living in England for most of his life. When Khan, a respected doctor who obviously loves his adopted homeland -- he respects the royal family, regularly eats roast beef, and cares deeply about cricket -- is thrown in jail despite the absence of explicit charges, Rumpole rushes to his defense. But with the entire legal system, a fearful populace, and Rumpole's wife, Hilda (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed), all ready to toss the alleged al-Qaeda operative in prison for life and throw away the key, Rumpole finds himself utterly alone in his fight for justice. To complicate matters, the neglected Hilda becomes the object of infatuation of none other than Justice Leonard "Mad Bull" Bullingham, the judge presiding over Khan's trial…

Fans of the extensive Rumpole franchise -- the long-running BBC television series, the radio shows, the short story collections, etc. -- will be pleasantly surprised by Mortimer's second full-length Rumpole novel (after 2004's Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murder), which tackles touchy themes (racial and religious prejudice, excessive government anti-terrorism initiatives, etc.) with understated wit, panache, and class. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
Mortimer's curmudgeonly barrister, Horace Rumpole, defends a Pakistani doctor accused of aiding al-Qaeda in an up-to-date tale that pits Rumpole against those who use the terrorist threat as an excuse to subvert the British legal system. When Mahmood Khan, who loves the queen, roast beef and cricket as much as any respectable Englishman, is imprisoned on vague charges, Rumpole must use all his wiles including blackmailing the odious home secretary to ensure a fair trial. Meanwhile, wife Hilda (aka "She Who Must Be Obeyed"), as revealed in extracts from the memoirs she's secretly writing, has been flirting with Judge Leonard "Mad Bull" Bullingham, her husband's courtroom nemesis, who winds up presiding in the case against Dr. Khan. If luck as much as clever sleuthing figures into Rumpole's ultimate triumph, this daringly topical entry in Mortimer's cherished series shows that the 83-year-old author remains as skilled as ever at delivering an entertaining mystery. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Horace Rumpole forgoes his usual diet of lowlife clients (Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders, 2004, etc.) to defend an accused terrorist, with predictably lightsome results. According to Peter Plaistow, who's been prosecuting threats against Her Majesty's government for as long as Rumpole's been swilling Chƒteau Thames Embankment, Dr. Mahmood Khan, a Pakistani immigrant who's lived half his life in the Kilburn house his father left him, is a terrorist. For security reasons, however, neither Rumpole nor his client is allowed to know exactly what offenses he's supposed to have committed. When Rumpole goes up against Plaistow in court, his ringing invocation of the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights gets him nothing but a lecture about how "jury trials and the presumption of innocence may have been all very well in their day." Meanwhile, his wife Hilda, who confides to her diary that Dr. Khan "must be dangerous or the government wouldn't have arrested him in the first place," is concerned about Rumpole's possible designs on a sweet young thing but scarcely notices that the judge she's seeing is bent on easing her into divorce. The rollicking means by which Rumpole wangles a jury trial, in which he can learn what his client is accused of and then get him acquitted, shed no light on the graver conflicts between state security and individual freedom, but there's never any doubt which side Mortimer is on. Agent: Michael Sissons/PFD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143112587
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2007
  • Series: Rumpole Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 795,717
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.54 (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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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Can't go wrong with Rumpole

    Mortimer's fascinating character, Horace Rumpole who plies his trade as a barrister at the Old Bailey, never lets the reader down. The stories/books are very readable. The character also translated well to the small screen, played by estimable character actor Leo McKern.
    Definite read for legal thriller fans.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Reign of Terror - got my attention!

    I very much enjoyed Rumpole and the Reign of Terror. I was aware of Rumpole at the Bailey because of PBS TV but never thought about reading one of the books. I found this book very entertaining and thought it was very clever where the writer inserted parts of the memoir from 'She Who Must Be Obeyed'. It showed what she was thinking which often times didn't track at all with Rumpole. I can imagine Rumpole in a court scene and stealing the show. I found him very entertaining and will read more about Rumpole. I suggest picking up this book. It's a very good read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008


    SIR JOHN'S REIGN OF TERROR CONTINUES FOR RUMPOLE: Without the least irony (I hope), another 'legal character' book arrived at my 'Barrister Desk' for 'The Malet Street Gazette'. Received, I hasten to add, with much eagerness and anticipation- the fifteenth Rumpole book: ¿Rumpole and the Reign of Terror¿. It is politics by innuendo time again as Sir John writes a narrative this time rather than the specific short stories he is normally associated with. By my reckoning, Horace Rumpole must be approaching 100 shortly which gives new meaning to the age for retirement, even under New Labour as Rumpole would surely agree. Rumpole clearly should never retire as his humorous comments, deliciously and politically incorrect, remain as relevant and irreverent now as they did in the 1970s when he first appeared in print. Many members of the Bar will have a silent regard for the cynicism of the ASBO, the ominous SIAC, and Rumpole¿s surprising interest in FLAC (the Free Legal Advice Centre, or course) which he did not appear to have considered before. But Mortimer keeps the best for last with his attack on the `new bureaucracy¿ of the practising certificate, and his view of the `control-freakery¿ of CPD or `being required to take lessons¿ so you `score twelve points a year to stay on as a hack¿. Christmas definitely came early last year, and I just wonder in my idle moments what Lord Denning would have made of Rumpole in the early twenty-first century! Phillip Taylor MBE. Abbey & Richmond Chambers.

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    Posted June 22, 2010

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    Posted October 16, 2011

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