Rumpole for the Defence by John Mortimer
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
That champion of the downtrodden, oppressed and falsely accused, the aging London barrister Horace Rumpole is at it again in another addition of his memoir-esque reminiscences in Rumpole for the Defense.
In just about every one of former barrister-turned-author John Mortimer's books his hero Rumpole, that witty grump, is almost invariably set upon by an antagonistic judge. Often his client is not guilty, but harboring a secret he/she doesn't want to give up, not even to his/her own counsel. Usually, Rumpole is even at odds with his own firm!
About a half dozen stories/cases make up Rumpole for the Defense. I don't know if there's a common thread among them more than, say, Rumpole's continual defense of those accused of crimes they (usually) didn't commit and the aforementioned recurring formulas. I suppose Mortimer was leaning most heavily on Rumpole's unflinching defense of those in need, and the need in general of those at the mercy of the merciless.
This is a very solid 3 stars. If there's any real fault it's that it is rather repetitious, treading on past formulas already well-tread. However, these are good stories that will delight any Rumpole fan and should engage those who like courtroom drama.
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