The splendours and miseries of an old Bailey hack,
Dec 24, 2009
In "Rumpole and the Age of Miracles", John Mortimer has served up a veritable smorgasbord of short snappy tales that are the very best that British courtroom humour has to offer. Whether it's criminal trials in the old Bailey or civil trials in Chancery division, Horace Rumpole takes on all comers with a trademarked irreverent disdain for the sanctity of the law, the court, the judiciary and his learned colleagues at the bar. But, make no mistake, Rumpole's disarming attitude and appearance mask a razor sharp legal mind able to cut directly to the heart of the matter and an ability to draw on brutally cunning legal tactics which, for many American readers, will be reminiscent of the television detective, Columbo. He's portrayed as an acute barrister who's quite capable of thinking on his feet and taking full advantage of his opposition, the judge and, indeed, the jury with whatever tricks or twists of fate come his way.
Whether Rumpole is in court or lighting up a cigar and quaffing a glass of Chateau Fleet Street at his favourite after-hours haunt, Pommeroy's Wine Bar, Rumpole is accompanied by an endearing supporting cast that is an integral part of the amusing, indeed often hilarious stories that Mortimer has produced - Guthrie Featherstone QC MP, the stiffly starched and prissy (yet often philandering) head of chambers; Claude Erskine-Brown, the slightly looser barrister who is head over heels in love with the only female member of chambers, the eloquent and deeply feminist Phillida Trant; Rumpole's wife, Hilda, the imposing "She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed"; and Percy Timson, the patriarch of a widespread London family of low-level criminals whose bumbling failures are destined to keep Rumpole supplied with a steady stream of defense briefs for as long as he cares to work.
Hilarious brain candy guaranteed to take you away from the worries of the workaday world for a blissful all-too-short few hours. Highly recommended and always delightful.
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