John Mortimer - Author

About the Author

John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist and former practising barrister. During the war he worked with the Crown Film Unit and published a number of novels, before turning to theatre. He has written many film scripts, and plays both for radio and television, including A Voyage Round My Father, the Rumpole plays, which won him the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. His many collections of Rumpole stories are published in Penguin, as well as a volume of his plays, two volumes of his acclaimed autobiography, Clinging to the Wreckage and Murderers and Other Friends, and In Character and Character Parts, which contain interviews with some of the most famous men and women of our time. His novels include Summer's Lease, Paradise Postponed , Titmuss Regained (its sequel), Under the Hammer, all of which have been made into successful television series, Charade, Dunster, and Felix in the Underworld.

 

John Mortimer died in 2009.

Featured books by John Mortimer

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders

Author: John Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/09/2007

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders - a classic story starring John Mortimer's most iconic character 'Rumpole, like Jeeves and Sherlock Holmes, is immortal' P. D James, Mail on Sunday 'I thank heaven for small mercies. The first of these is Rumpole' Clive James, Observer Horace Rumpole - cigar-smoking, claret-drinking, Wordsworth-spouting defender of some unlikely clients - often speaks of the great murder trial which revealed his talents as an advocate and made his reputation down at the Bailey when he was still a young man. Now, for the first time, the sensational story of the Penge Bungalow Murders case is told in full: how, shortly after the war, Rumpole took on the seemingly impossible task of defending young Simon Jerold, accused of murdering his father and his father's friend with a German officer's gun. And how the inexperienced young brief was left alone to pursue the path of justice, in a case that was to echo through the Bailey for years to come. John Mortimer's hilarious Rumpole, which fans of Sherlock Holmes and P.G. Wodehouse will love, sees the magician of the Old Bailey at his unpredictable and brilliant best. Sir John Mortimer was a barrister, playwright and novelist. His fictional political trilogy of Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained and The Sound of Trumpets has recently been republished in Penguin Classics, together with Clinging to the Wreckage and his play A Voyage round My Father. His most famous creation was the barrister Horace Rumpole, who featured in four novels and around eighty short stories. His books in Penguin include: The Anti-social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole; The Collected Stories of Rumpole; The First Rumpole Omnibus; Rumpole and the Angel of Death; Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders; Rumpole and the Primrose Path; Rumpole and the Reign of Terror; Rumpole and the Younger Generation; Rumpole at Christmas; Rumpole Rests His Case; The Second Rumpole Omnibus; Forever Rumpole; In Other Words; Quite Honestly and Summer's Lease.

eBooks of the Month

Other books by John Mortimer

Rumpole's Return

Rumpole's Return

Author: John Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/11/2021

'A fruity, foxy masterpiece, defender of our wilting faith in mankind' Sunday Times Horace Rumpole is in a strange state that could only be described as a kind of air-conditioned purgatory: he has retired to Florida with his wife, Hilda (She Who Must Be Obeyed). It is safely assumed the Old Bailey hack's wig has been hung up for good. But when a rather unkempt civil servant is mixed up in the mysterious death of a minor aristocrat, Rumpole seizes the opportunity to escape a life of leisure. He is soon back in court (via a budget airline) to do battle once more with Judge 'Mad Bull' Bullingham.

The Trials of Rumpole

The Trials of Rumpole

Author: John Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2021

'I thank heaven for small mercies. The first of these is Rumpole' Clive James Horace Rumpole, the irrepressible barrister fuelled by cigars, Tennyson, steak-and-kidney pud and the cooking claret from Pommeroy's wine bar, is back for further misadventures. Amid an unfortunate and temporary downturn in London crime, the Old Bailey Hack sits in Chambers (he never writes at home for fear of She Who Must Be Obeyed) and picks up his pen to recount six classic tales of his recent trials. Here he deals with, among others, a clergyman on a shoplifting rampage, a backstage theatrical murder, a villain with unfortunate sartorial taste and, worst of all, the possibility that he may have to hang up his wig and retire. 'Rumpole, like Jeeves and Sherlock Holmes, is immortal' P. D. James

Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces

Rumpole and the Old Familiar Faces

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 06/08/2020

Desmond Barrit stars as Horace Rumpole in this full-cast, feature-length radio drama Rumpole has no special objection to Christmas - except that with the Old Bailey closed, he has no opportunity to exercise his skills in court. But over the course of one unusual holiday, he nonetheless manages to triumph in two very different cases... Dragooned into spending Christmas in Norfolk, at the home of one of Hilda's old schoolfriends, Rumpole is feeling less than festive. Chilly Coldsands Rectory does not offer much in the way of enjoyment - but a trip to the local church and a surprise encounter with an old acquaintance leads to a God-given opportunity to indulge in a little seasonal, charitable blackmail. A New Year outing to see Aladdin also provides more excitement than expected. The traditional British pantomime is one of Rumpole's favourite institutions, but he has a vague feeling that there's something odd about this particular production. A post-panto drink, some overheard remarks and a glance at the programme confirm his suspicions - and put him on the path to solving an audacious crime... Starring Desmond Barrit as Rumpole and Joanna David as Hilda, with Tim McInnerny as Donald Compton and Nigel Anthony as Fred Timson. Written by John Mortimer Directed by Marilyn Imrie Produced by Catherine Bailey Pantomime music written and played by Neil Brand A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4

Rumpole: On Trial & Going for Silk

Rumpole: On Trial & Going for Silk

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 02/04/2020

Timothy West takes on the role of Rumpole in these two thrilling dramas featuring the wily magician of the Old Bailey at his implacable best Rumpole on Trial Rumpole takes up the cause of young Bertie Timson, whose sole 'crime' seems to be playing football in the street. As he endeavours to defend our ancient freedoms, he becomes uneasy about exactly what his wife Hilda is up to in her continuing friendship with a high court judge. Going for Silk Having narrowly avoided an ASBO himself, Rumpole hopes to become a QC at last. But first he must turn his attention back to the Timson case, while also preparing to defend a young man charged with the murder of a prostitute. Timothy West stars as Rumpole and Prunella Scales as Hilda, with Nigel Anthony as Claude Erskine-Brown and Michael Cochrane as 'Soapy Sam' Ballard.

Rumpole: The Teenage Werewolf & other stories

Rumpole: The Teenage Werewolf & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 02/01/2020

Timothy West stars as Rumpole in these four fantastic radio dramas Rumpole and the Teenage Werewolf Rumpole heads to the Home Counties to defend Ben, a teenager accused of sending emails deemed to be sexually harassing, and of an actual physical attack on a girl. Rumpole and the Right to Privacy Rumpole leaves the Old Bailey to defend a civil case: an editor of a local newspaper who is accused of breaching a successful businessman's right to privacy. Truth Makes All Things Plain If one man can be counted on to fight injustice and insist on a fair trial for everyone, whatever their circumstances, it is Horace Rumpole. So when the beautiful Tiffany Khan learns that her husband has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism, she calls for his help right away. The Past Catches up with us All As he struggles to win justice for his client, Rumpole finds that his marriage to She Who Must Be Obeyed is, rather like his waistcoat, straining at the seams. Timothy West stars as Rumpole and Prunella Scales as Hilda, with Matt Smith as Ben, Nigel Anthony as Claude Erskine-Brown and Michael Cochrane as 'Soapy Sam' Ballard.

Rumpole: The Primrose Path & other stories

Rumpole: The Primrose Path & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 03/10/2019

Timothy West takes on the role of Rumpole in these four delightful dramas featuring the wily barrister Rumpole and the Primrose Path Rumpole exposes criminal practices at the nursing home where he was sent to recuperate after a heart attack, leaving him in dire need of claret, cheroots and good company. Rumpole and the Scales of Justice When Rumpole defends a senior policeman in court, his love for Shakespeare's Othello and his old acquaintances in the south London criminal fraternity prove very useful. Rumpole and the Vanishing Juror Rumpole's admiration for the integrity of the Old Bailey jury is legendary - but he is mystified when his most promising juror in a murder trial suddenly disappears... Rumpole Redeemed Invited to dinner at his local prison, Rumpole solves the conundrum of whether an ex-con can be reformed - while also seeking redemption himself. Timothy West stars as Rumpole, with Prunella Scales as Hilda, Michael Cochrane as Sam Ballard, Nigel Anthony as Claude Erskine-Brown and Sophie Thompson as Luci Gribble.

Rumpole: The Golden Thread & other stories

Rumpole: The Golden Thread & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 04/07/2019

Three thrilling full-cast dramas starring Julian Rhind-Tutt as the irrepressible Horace Rumpole Rumpole and the Golden Thread In Africa defending an old pupil in a murder trial, Rumpole is arrested. When Phillida arrives to bail him out, a spark between them is rekindled... Rumpole and the Official Secret Rumpole defends a civil servant accused of selling secrets and is embroiled in a wine fraud. Meanwhile, Phillida tells Rumpole she plans to leave her husband and asks him to keep it a secret, and Horace considers what that might mean. Rumpole and the Quality of Life Ballard's wedding looms and Rumpole faces a life-changing decision about his own marriage. Hilda expects him to join her in Cornwall, but Phillida hopes he will leave to be with her at last... For fifteen years, Rumpole has fought, won and occasionally lost myriad cases - and fallen in and out of love with both wife Hilda and 'the Portia of our Chambers', Phillida Erskine-Brown. These three episodes leave us guessing until the very end - will Rumpole finally leave 'She Who Must be Obeyed' for Phillida? Julian Rhind-Tutt stars as Rumpole, with Jasmine Hyde as Hilda, Nigel Anthony as Claude Erskine-Brown and Cathy Sara as Phillida.

Rumpole: The Way Through the Woods & other stories

Rumpole: The Way Through the Woods & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 04/04/2019

A sixth collection of captivating courtroom dramas, starring Julian Rhind-Tutt as Horace Rumpole Rumpole and the Way Through the Woods Rumpole makes friends with a dog named Sir Lancelot, and finds himself defending a hunt saboteur who claims to be guilty of murder. But Horace is convinced that the true culprit is among the hunting fraternity. Rumpole for the Prosecution Rumpole's personal commandment is 'Thou Shalt Not Prosecute' - but he breaks this rule to take on a private prosecution brought by a dead girl's father. However, an obscure literary reference and a piece of evidence that doesn't fit bring his defender's instincts to the fore... Rumpole and the Quacks Temporarily indisposed, Rumpole consults a charming Indian doctor who later asks for Horace's help when he is accused of molesting a patient. Meanwhile, Rumpole's friendship with Phillida Erskine-Brown deepens as both their marriages hit a tricky patch. Julian Rhind-Tutt stars as Rumpole, with Jasmine Hyde as Hilda, Nigel Anthony as Claude Erskine-Brown and Cathy Sara as Phillida.

Rumpole of the Bailey

Rumpole of the Bailey

Author: John Mortimer Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2019

'Rumpole, like Jeeves and Sherlock Holmes, is immortal' P. D. James Horace Rumpole - dishevelled barrister at law, drinker of claret and smoker of cigars, inveterate quoter of Wordsworth and eternal defender of the underdog - is one of the greatest English comic characters ever created. This is the original volume of Rumpole stories, introducing us to the legal triumphs that first made the Old Bailey Hack's name, along with a host of choice villains, frequent forays to Pommeroy's wine bar and, of course, his formidable, magisterial wife Hilda, She Who Must Be Obeyed. 'I thank heaven for small mercies. The first of these is Rumpole' Clive James 'A fruity, foxy masterpiece, defender of our wilting faith in mankind' Sunday Times

Rumpole: On Trial & other stories

Rumpole: On Trial & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 03/01/2019

Julian Rhind-Tutt takes on the role of Rumpole in this fifth collection of cracking court cases. Rumpole on Trial Suffering from toothache, Rumpole is in no mood for his client's boring testimony or Justice Gwent-Evans' impatience. But when he argues with the judge, he is warned in no uncertain terms about his future conduct. Soon, Rumpole finds himself on trial and facing the end of his career... Rumpole and Hilda Rumpole's long-suffering wife Hilda ('She Who Must Be Obeyed') narrates a fascinating tale of murder and romance that Horace would prefer to remain untold, and gives Rumpole - and us - a glimpse of her true, passionate nature. Rumpole and Memories of Christmas Past Rumpole spends an unexpectedly rewarding Christmas in Norfolk; discusses the spirit of Christmas with the Mad Monk; and learns that the season of goodwill is shared by barristers and criminals alike. Rumpole and the New Year's Resolutions Rumpole has an interesting encounter with Santa Claus at a Chambers Christmas party, finds himself on babysitting duty after a blackmail trial, and attends a traditional British panto - where he recognises a familiar face. Starring Julian Rhind-Tutt as Rumpole, Jasmine Hyde as Hilda and Nigel Anthony as Claude Erskine-Brown. A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

Rumpole on Trial

Rumpole on Trial

Author: John Mortimer Format: Ebook Release Date: 10/07/2018

In this collection of stories, the beloved barrister must fend off the advances of a mysterious young woman, face the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council, and take on a group of devil worshippers.

Rumpole: The Sleeping Partners & other stories

Rumpole: The Sleeping Partners & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: Ebook Release Date: 05/07/2018

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young, devastatingly acute Horace Rumpole in this third thrilling collection of court casesRumpole and the Old Boy Net: With the help of his new pupil, Miss Phillida Trant, Rumpole must defend Mr Napier Lee, who is charged with blackmail. But the alleged victim of the blackmail went to public school with the defendant, and Mr Lee won't sneak on his old school chum...Rumpole and the Sleeping Partners: After a legal ball in the Savoy Hotel, Rumpole and Hilda argue about Rumpole's drunken behaviour and Rumpole decides to sleep the night on his sofa in chambers - strictly against the rules. But there he finds his colleague Erskine-Brown with Phillida Trant, 'working late'...Rumpole and the Portia of our Chambers: Rumpole comes close to giving up the law when forced to consider the path his life has taken by a combination of his attraction to his pupil Phillida, an unsettling case involving an Irish terrorist, and a visit from an old flame of Hilda's.

Rumpole: The Gentle Art of Blackmail & other stories

Rumpole: The Gentle Art of Blackmail & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: Ebook Release Date: 05/04/2018

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young Horace Rumpole in this second stellar collection of court cases, also starring Timothy West as the older RumpoleRumpole and the Man of GodIt is 1959, and Rumpole must defend a clergyman accused of shoplifting who, although he clearly did not commit the crime, is curiously reluctant to be cross-examined under oath. Meanwhile, Hilda (she who must be obeyed) has big news...Rumpole and the Explosive Evidence Rumpole defends a well-known safe blower and exposes the underhand behaviour of one Dirty Dickerson, a senior police officer who is quite prepared to tamper with evidence.Rumpole and the Gentle Art of Blackmail In 1964 Rumpole returns to Oxford, where he studied law, to defend a young gardener who is accused of blackmailing the Master of St Joseph's College. Their friendship had provoked rumours of homosexuality - still illegal in those days - and the Master says he has been threatened with a public accusation.Rumpole and the Expert Witness Rumpole is asked to defend a GP, Dr Ned Dacre, who is accused of murdering his wife, Sally. The plot thickens when the local pathologist turns out to have history with Dr Ned...

Rumpole: The Gentle Art of Blackmail & other stories

Rumpole: The Gentle Art of Blackmail & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 05/04/2018

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young Horace Rumpole in this second stellar collection of court cases, also starring Timothy West as the older Rumpole Rumpole and the Man of God It is 1959, and Rumpole must defend a clergyman accused of shoplifting who, although he clearly did not commit the crime, is curiously reluctant to be cross-examined under oath. Meanwhile, Hilda (she who must be obeyed) has big news... Rumpole and the Explosive Evidence Rumpole defends a well-known safe blower and exposes the underhand behaviour of one Dirty Dickerson, a senior police officer who is quite prepared to tamper with evidence. Rumpole and the Gentle Art of Blackmail In 1964 Rumpole returns to Oxford, where he studied law, to defend a young gardener who is accused of blackmailing the Master of St Joseph's College. Their friendship had provoked rumours of homosexuality - still illegal in those days - and the Master says he has been threatened with a public accusation. Rumpole and the Expert Witness Rumpole is asked to defend a GP, Dr Ned Dacre, who is accused of murdering his wife, Sally. The plot thickens when the local pathologist turns out to have history with Dr Ned... Durations: 3 hours approx.

Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders & other stories

Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: Ebook Release Date: 04/01/2018

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young, feisty, devastatingly acute Horace Rumpole in this collection of cracking cases, also starring Timothy West as the older Rumpole.Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders: It is the fifties, and two war heroes have been shot dead. Defending the suspect is deemed hopeless, so the case is handed to a novice. But the novice's superiors didn't count on the tenacity and wit of the young and hungry Horace Rumpole, as he defends the accused alone and without a leader for the very first time. This two-part adaptation of the novel by John Mortimer also marks the beginning of Rumpole's life-long liason with Hilda ("e;She Who Must Be Obeyed"e;).Rumpole and the Family Pride: We rejoin Rumpole and Hilda in the late 1950s, when they have been married for a year or two. Hilda's cousin lives with her husband, the 17th Baron Sackbut, in Sackbut Castle on the Yorkshire Moors. Hilda and Rumpole are invited to the castle when a body is found in the grounds. Meanwhile, in London, Rumpole defends a tramp who has confessed to a triple-murder.Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle: When Rumpole and Hilda attend a concert performed by The Casterini Trio, Rumpole is surprised to be approached by Elizabeth Casterini - the trio's beautiful violinist. But then the Trio's cellist, Tom Randall, is murdered. Elizabeth's husband is arrested, and Rumpole agrees to defend him at the Old Bailey.'a deliciously fun listen' - AudioFile Magazine

Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders & other stories

Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders & other stories

Author: John Mortimer Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 04/01/2018

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young, feisty, devastatingly acute Horace Rumpole in this collection of cracking cases, also starring Timothy West as the older Rumpole. Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders: It is the fifties, and two war heroes have been shot dead. Defending the suspect is deemed hopeless, so the case is handed to a novice. But the novice's superiors didn't count on the tenacity and wit of the young and hungry Horace Rumpole, as he defends the accused alone and without a leader for the very first time. This two-part adaptation of the novel by John Mortimer also marks the beginning of Rumpole's life-long liason with Hilda ( She Who Must Be Obeyed ). Rumpole and the Family Pride: We rejoin Rumpole and Hilda in the late 1950s, when they have been married for a year or two. Hilda's cousin lives with her husband, the 17th Baron Sackbut, in Sackbut Castle on the Yorkshire Moors. Hilda and Rumpole are invited to the castle when a body is found in the grounds. Meanwhile, in London, Rumpole defends a tramp who has confessed to a triple-murder. Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle: When Rumpole and Hilda attend a concert performed by The Casterini Trio, Rumpole is surprised to be approached by Elizabeth Casterini - the trio's beautiful violinist. But then the Trio's cellist, Tom Randall, is murdered. Elizabeth's husband is arrested, and Rumpole agrees to defend him at the Old Bailey. 'a deliciously fun listen' - AudioFile Magazine Duration: 3 hrs approx.

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