Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Rumpole Christmas: Stories

A Rumpole Christmas: Stories
John Mortimer
Viking, 2009. 161 pgs. Mystery

Rumpole of the Bailey appears one more time (John Mortimer died in January of this year) to defend the sometimes defenseless--everyone presumed to be innocent until 12 of his peers say otherwise--in this delightful collection of the curmudgeonly barrister in the holiday season. Looking forward only to the customary exchange of lavendar water for a tie with his wife (She Who Must Be Obeyed), Rumpole finds himself defending a woman "taken in adultery" from blackmail charges, a universally despied Islamist from an apparently open and shut case of murder, and his own office staff from the larcenous designs of Santa Claus. Rumpole is his comfortable old self, sitting down to a plate of mash and steak and kidney pie, washed down with the miserable vintage of his choice (Chateau Thames Embankment), but various crimers and his wife intervene to make his life both interesting and annoying. Great solstice reading with a cup of hot chocolate by the fireside.

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