Rumpole of the Bailey

By John Mortimer
Read by Frederick Davidson

The Rumpole Series: Book 1978

7.40 Hours 12/01/1991 unabridged
Format:
  • Regular Price: $16.95

    Special Price $13.56

    or 1 Credit

    ISBN: 9781455169962

    $12.99 With Membership: Learn More
  • $6.95

    ISBN: 9781482110180

  • $29.95

    ISBN: 9781441788276

  • $29.95

    ISBN: 9781441788283

Horace Rumpole, the irreverent, iconoclastic, claret-swilling, poetry-spouting barrister-at-law, is among the most beloved characters of English crime literature. He is not a particularly gifted attorney, nor is he particularly fond of the law by courts if it comes to that, but he’d rather be swinging at a case than bowing to his wife, Hilda—“She Who Must Be Obeyed.” In this first title of the popular series featuring Rumpole, all of the major characters who occupy the Rumpole stories make their introductions: the sneaky, slightly effeminate Erskine-Brown; the bumbling Guthrie Featherstone; and various and sundry other lawyers and clerks whose lives weave in and out of these stories. These six stories include “The Younger Generation,” “The Alternative Society,” “The Honorable Member,” “The Married Lady,” “The Learned Friends,” and “The Heavy Brigade.”

Learn More
Membership Details
  • Only $12.99/month gets you 1 Credit/month
  • Cancel anytime
  • Hate a book? Then we do too, and we'll exchange it.
See how it works in 15 seconds

Summary

Summary

Horace Rumpole, the irreverent, iconoclastic, claret-swilling, poetry-spouting barrister-at-law, is among the most beloved characters of English crime literature. He is not a particularly gifted attorney, nor is he particularly fond of the law by courts if it comes to that, but he’d rather be swinging at a case than bowing to his wife, Hilda—“She Who Must Be Obeyed.”

In this first title of the popular series featuring Rumpole, all of the major characters who occupy the Rumpole stories make their introductions: the sneaky, slightly effeminate Erskine-Brown; the bumbling Guthrie Featherstone; and various and sundry other lawyers and clerks whose lives weave in and out of these stories. These six stories include “The Younger Generation,” “The Alternative Society,” “The Honorable Member,” “The Married Lady,” “The Learned Friends,” and “The Heavy Brigade.”

Reviews

Reviews

by Nelle 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Well Worth the Listen

I listened on CDs, and the production quality was excellent. This is among my favorite listening experiences because of hearing Frederick Davidson deliver the humor and wit of the Rumpole stories, with all the various voices he uses for the characters. They are so well done. He does a sardonic voice for Rumpole; clipped, bossy tones for his wife Hilda; a feminine voice for attorney Phileda Trent; cockney accents for the petty criminals; snobby, posh voices of the upper-class barristers; and short-tempered, mean tones of the judges who dislike Rumpole. I have listened to this recording several times and even prefer it to the DVD of the BBC Mystery series Rumpole of the Bailey because, compared to the audiobook, the wit and humor just do not come across as well. I highly recommend any of the Rumpole audiobooks narrated by Frederick Davidson.
by Bertie Wooster 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Everything I Ever Wanted in an Audiobook…

…except the production value. But more on that later.

The Thin Man Series (at least, the first three films), Manhattan Murder Mystery, So I Married an Axe Murderer. These rare combinations of crime and comedy are my favorite kind of movies. For the same reason, Rumpole is my favorite kind of audiobook.

He quotes poetry. He ignores fashion. He is supremely self-confident of his abilities (at least, outwardly). He solves small but perplexing little mysteries that others gloss over. He always sees the humor in a situation—and where there is none he creates it. As the narrator of these six stories, in this last respect he enjoys a wide latitude; something as simple as refreshing a drink is expressed thus: “the tide had gone out in my glass”.

But his irreverence for rank and his irritation at those less gifted than himself—who also happen to be the ones who prosper more than Rumpole—is fueled, ultimately, by a deep-seated desire to find the Truth. And that’s where a third element comes in: for all the rational deductions that absolve seemingly guilty clients, for all the snatches of Wordsworth and Keats, for all the humorous cracks and wicked barbs in and out of court, there is also a kind of seriousness at the bottom of these stories which, as I approach my 56th year, I also find as satisfying as the crime and the comedy.

Unfortunately, there’s a downside. Being a quarter century old and originally recorded on tape, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the audio quality is less than ideal. Frederick Davidson does his usual superb job, but at times he’s speaking through a maze of distortion—the kind of fluctuating, wobbly, loud-and-soft nonsense that used to occur when an audiocassette tape was played a few dozen too many times. And, since these stories were transferred from tape, and since those tapes always repeated the last sentence or two from side 1 when you flipped to side 2, we get every repeat. Couldn’t someone have edited those out?

Still, I persevered. First, because I didn’t pay full price, but a mere $4.99 in the last Black Friday sale. Secondly, and more importantly, because the stories—from the writing to the characters to the plots—were so darn good. As a young female barrister says, “Never underestimate the cunning of Rumpole”.

Author

Author Bio: John Mortimer

John Mortimer (1923–2009) was a playwright, novelist, and barrister. He wrote many radio, film, and television scripts, including the British television series Rumpole of the Bailey, and won the British Academy Writer of the Year Award in 1979. He retired from the bar in 1984 and was knighted in 1998.

Titles by Author

See All

Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Mystery & Detective
Runtime: 7.40
Audience: Adult
Language: English