Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders

by John Mortimer


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Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer

The Rumpole renaissance continues to build, and now the beloved barrister’s many followers have a special reason to rejoice: a sensational full-length Rumpole novel that at last relates the oft-mentioned but never revealed story of Rumpole’s first case, the Penge Bungalow affair. Looking back half a century into a very different world, Rumpole recalls a man accused of murdering his father and his father’s friend with a pistol taken from a dead German pilot. It was this trial and its outcome that put Rumpole on the map and shaped him into the cantankerous defender of justice that readers know and love. This is a must-read for every Rumpole fan and a compelling invitation to new readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143036111
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/25/2005
Series: Rumpole Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 642,283
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.58(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A brilliant piece of work." —The New York Times Book Review

"Ambitious and substantial... cleverly conceived and highly satisfying." —Los Angeles Times


A Letter from John Mortimer

Dear Reader:

The joy of mystery or detective novels is that they have to tell a story, they have to surprise readers and, in the end, they have to offer explanations for the bewildering problems of life. Rumpole, a well-seasoned, eccentric criminal barrister, is also a detective, a defender of our human rights, and, I hope, an endearing comic character. I love writing him because by now he seems practically to speak for himself. He has been a great friend to me and I don't think he'll die before I do.

The Penge Bungalow Murders is the first full-length Rumpole novel; until now, he has only appeared in short stories and on television. He has always talked of the Penge Bungalow case that he won "alone and without a leader." But that story, like Sherlock Holmes's case The Giant Rat of Sumatra, has never been told before.

Now it is told, as Rumpole remembers his youth. In the course of that, he also remembers the cunning way in which he was steered into marriage by his formidable wife, Hilda, always known to him as "She Who Must Be Obeyed." I think this book is a good introduction for new readers of Rumpole. They can meet him here in both his maturity and in his ambitious youth. It also has much to offer seasoned Rumpole readers, who will finally learn why the Penge Bungalow case was so important to Rumpole, both in the Old Bailey and at home with "She Who Must…"

Has Rumpole changed over the years? Of course! He has become more experienced, more confident in court, better at laughing at and making jokes about pompous judges and serious barristers. But I think his courage, his tolerance, his passionate belief in human rights and true justice have always been with him -- certainly ever since he won the Penge Bungalow murder case alone and without a leader.

Writing The Penge Bungalow Murders, I had to remember our society in the '50s, just after World War II. Many things were changing, but we still imprisoned homosexuals and we still had the death penalty. So, in defending Simon Jerold on the charge of shooting his ex-RAF officer father, Rumpole was fighting for his client's life, which hasn't been the case in any of his more recent murder trials.

It's a real pleasure for me to hear from readers, or to go out on book tours and meet readers whom I hope I've given pleasure and entertainment. It gives me the strength and confidence to go back to the lonely job of telling stories, luring readers into turning the pages to find out what's going to happen next, and to think about the mysteries of life and, I hope, to sometimes laugh.

John Mortimer

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Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Horace Rumpole looks back to just after graduating from Oxford to work his first legal case. Five decades ago Rumpole bit his acerbic tongue to defend a client Simon Jerold accused of a double murder, that of his father and a friend using a pistol taken from a deceased World War II German aviator. The evidence seems overwhelming and the legal fraternity shies away from defending the accused as no money can be made. Stunned by the reaction of his peers Rumpole dives into the defense with idealistic zeal.--- Rumpole quickly learns that the jurisprudence system is a haven for corrupt barristers trying to squeeze pounds out of helpless and at times innocent criminals. He drops the gloves applying his saber wit on opponents as he defends his client with his belligerent in your face manner. He will use that technique for the next five decades defending the downtrodden against powerful opponents except Hilda Wyston who he has just met through her father and quickly becomes known as ¿She Who Must Be Obeyed¿.--- This is a terrific Rumpole legal thriller that fans of the series will fully treasure due to the documenting of his first case referenced in many of the short stories. The deep support cast consists of ¿felons¿ from all sides of the legal systems, family members, and lest we forget the client. Though newcomers will feel aspects of the case and the protagonist¿s background seem missing (a tendency to rely on references in other books), readers will find pleasure with the character driven case that fans have wanted for seemingly almost as long a time as the hero looks back.--- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was another great story by John Mortimer in the Rumpole Style. It makes me sad to know but there will be no new ones in the future.
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