Viking, Nov 2002, 24.95, 224 pp.
As a barrister, Horace Rumpole faces the difficult challenges of new age crimes in this delightful anthology with his brain, a cheroot, and a shot of Old Bailey. Horace deals with an aristocratic former blackmailer, an illegal alien fighting exportation that means death, a politician facing ruin due to alleged drug usage and the modern stalker using e-mail as the source of contact. As anyone can see, he defends a series of peculiar clients. However, all is not great for Horace who collapses in the midst of a courtroom, placing him under greater control of his general officer and concerned wife Hilda.
It is hard to believe that six years have passed since the last Rumpole tale, but the myriad of his loyal followers will rejoice that he is as sharp as ever. Horace narrates the tales that are mostly his first person perceptions. Scenes flash by at a rapid rate more so than the typical legal thriller contains which makes for a fast delightful reading experience. Simply put, John Mortimer keeps his superstar charming and witty so hopefully we fans will not have to wait quite as long for his next appearance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner