Cover image for Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow murders
Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow murders
Mortimer, John, 1923-2009.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, [2004]

Physical Description:
214 pages ; 22 cm
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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Now more than ever, thousands of readers delight in the adventures of Horace Rumpole, but despite the publication of more than one hundred stories, his early years have remained shrouded in mystery—until now.In Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders, John Mortimer tells the story of Rumpole’s very first case. Looking back a half 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 began to shape him into the eccentric and cantankerous defender of justice and reciter of poetry readers know and love. Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murdersis a must read for every Rumpole fan and a compelling invitation to new readers to get to know Mortimer’s addictive barrister.

Author Notes

John Mortimer is the author of many books including twelve volumes of Rumpole stories, as well as the bestselling "Summer's Lease" & "Paradise Postponed". He lives with his wife & youngest daughter in the house in Buckinghamshire that his father built.

(Publisher Provided) Playwright and novelist John Mortimer was born in London on April 21, 1923. He attended Brasenose College in Oxford. While working as a barrister in the 1960s, he became known as a defender of free speech and human rights. His novels Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained, and Summer's Lease were all made into successful television series. He has written many film scripts as well as stage, radio and television plays, which include A Voyage Round My Father and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisted. He is the creator of Horace Rumpole and the plays about the character won him the British Academy Writer of the Year Award. His other works include numerous stories about Horace Rumpole, Clinging to the Wreckage, and Murderers and Other Friends. He died on January 16, 2009 at the age of 85.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

One of the longest-running jokes in series fiction has been Horace Rumpole's oft-repeated reference to his triumph in the Penge Bungalow case, which he defended in the Old Bailey alone and without a leader. Fans long tantalized by references to the great legal case of the postwar years now can have a novel-length bath in it. Rumpole, shocked that the newbies in chambers have never heard of this case (they are even a little vague about the identity of Churchill, he feels), commits it to memoir. Mortimer thus gives us two Rumpoles here: the singularly acerbic old Rumpole, still moving through Chambers and the Old Bailey, but also wryly commenting on young white wig Rumpole--acerbic, fond of quoting Romantic poets, yes; but also ambitious (craven, old Rumpole calls it); and very nervous. A lot of mysteries are cleared up along the way: for example, how the criminal family, the Timsons, first fell into Rumpole's lap; how his wife, Hilda (She Who Must Be Obeyed ), first darkened his door; and the origin of the term Chateau Thames Embankment. The Penge Bungalow case itself is a rip-snorter: two RAF fliers living next to each other in bungalows right after World War II are both murdered with a German pistol; the accused is the son of one of the victims. Masterful characterization and a spellbinding plot, filled with the arcane lore and intrigues of the Old Bailey, make this one a special treat for devoted Rumpoleans. --Connie Fletcher Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mortimer's beloved barrister, Horace Rumpole, at last tells the tale, hitherto mentioned only in passing, of the Penge Bungalow murders, the case that made his reputation as a defense lawyer decades ago. Simon Jerold stands accused of shooting his father, a bomber pilot during WWII, and an RAF buddy of his father's some hours after a quarrel in which Simon threatened his father with a German Luger. Simon appears headed for the gallows with perfunctory defense from C.H. Wystan, Rumpole's by-the-book head of chambers. Leave it to young Rumpole, an inexperienced "white wig," to see a chink or two in the prosecution's case and step up to Simon's defense, even at the risk of ruffling his supercilious superior's feathers. Subplots include the farcical circumstances that lead the romantically challenged Rumpole to become engaged to Wystan's daughter, Hilda (aka "She Who Must Be Obeyed"), and his introduction to the felonious Timson family, one of whose hapless members he defends in an unrelated burglary trial-which incidentally provides a clue to a key motive of one of the principals in the murder case. If a British airman circa 1942 committing treason in the belief that Hitler was going to win the war isn't entirely convincing, Mortimer (Rumpole and the Primrose Path) never fails to delight. Agent, Michael Sissons at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop. (Nov. 22) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Having sold more than a million copies of Rumpole mysteries, Mortimer returns to Rumpole's first case. Mortimer lives in Oxfordshire, England. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.