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Remembering Rumpole

Remembering Rumpole


Horace Rumpole is worthy of a place alongside Sherlock Holmes (Bertie Wooster), Hercule Poirot (Hercule Poirot), James Bond, and Father Brown, as one the most outstanding creations of British popular fiction. It seems that Rumpole began his career in a TV series rather than in a book or magazine. The brainchild of barrister-turned-writer John Mortimer, Rumpole first appeared on television on December 17th, 1975, in a BBC anthology series called Play for Today.

Mortimer was 100 years old this month. Rumpole’s first appearance in the magazine came 100 years after his birth. He graduated with a law degree from Oxford in 1943, but then immediately went to work writing documentary films for Britain’s Ministry of Information. His first novel was published in Charade This experience was the basis of (1947). At the age of 25, he was admitted to the bar. Over the next 35-years, he had two careers: a barrister, who was a specialist in the defense against free speech and criminal defendants; and a writer of plays, radio plays and teleplays. He also wrote essays, memoirs, novels, and essays. After retiring from the bar in 1984, Mortimer continued to put out a book or two a year—most…

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