Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders by John Mortimer
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After reading four or five of the books and seeing a few of the tv show episodes based on them, the notoriety of London Barrister Horace Rumpole's greatest case "The Penge Bungalow Murders," much mentioned by himself, had reached legendary status. Yet, I'd never read about it. I didn't know the details, and so it took on a mysterious mythology. Unable to take the suspense any longer, I finally and joyously read John Mortimer's Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders.
This might be my favorite Rumpole to date!
It's a look back at the start of a career and a trip back in time that introduces long-known friends and acquaintances. Because the series begins in the midst, or rather in the twilight years, of Rumpole's career, Mortimer had Rumpole tell the story of his first big break via the act of writing his memoirs. That provided the reader a nice past/present reflection upon that lovable, wily and irascible lawyer.
Mortimer's writing is very smooth. His stock of character's are well-drawn, if a bit one dimensional, at least the usual supporting cast. The main players in whatever case Rumpole is working on are often dual-natured and Mortimer handles them just as capably. The plot of the typical Rumpole story, though not always a mind-bender, is crafted in a way to keep you guessing who dunnit for a decent length of time, and this one's no different. While not perfection, Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders gets an extra fanboy star from me and ranks as a topnotch entry in the series.
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