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From Barnes & NobleThe 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