Wednesday, January 31

Rumpole and the Reign of Terror by John Mortimer

Review by Gloria Feit 

John Mortimer has, to the delight of his fans, brought back Rumpole of the Bailey, self-described as having a 'slightly raffish air…, a little tarnished, jovial but not quite respectable.'  In a case very much of the times, Rumpole is called upon to defend a man who has been picked up by the police and detained, without benefit of counsel, or even of formal charges having been brought.  To make matters worse, the man, a doctor, is a Pakistani, and most make an assumption of guilt on his part, including She Who Must Be Obeyed, Rumpole's wife, Hilda.  And the laws, and the Courts, have changed – he is told "That's the trouble with your sort of lawyer, Mr. Rumpole.  You can't move with the times.  Things like jury trials and the presumption of innocence may have been all very well in their day.  But times change.  History moves on."  Rumpole despairs of adherence to things like the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights any longer.  But being Rumpole, he knows he must find a way despite it all.

Even more frightening to him than the abridgement of civil rights in the name of fighting terror, Rumpole must deal with the fact that his beloved wife has started writing her memoirs, to parts of which the reader is made privy in these pages.  Utterly charming, as is this novel.  Recommended.


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