The Anti-social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole, by John Mortimer

In which Rumpole has to defend a couple of cases: one of a young offender who's served an ASBO; the other of a man who is accused of strangling a prostitute. On top of that, Rumpole himself is served an ASBO when his colleagues get fed up with his consuming food, drink and cigars in the offices. At the same time, he's applying to be a QC and "she who must be obeyed" has decided to study for the bar.

That makes it sounds like quite a lot happens in the book but in fact it was not very long: only three CDs to listen to.

I've not read any other Rumpole, but I assumed that it would obey the rules of such series, in that the state of characters at the end of the book must be the same as it was at the start. As such, I expected that the QC application was bound to fail, as was his wife's interest in studying law. And so it proved.

Rumpole reminds me a bit of Inspector Frost - very successful at his job; resented and looked down upon by his superiors (but relatively unconcerned about their disapproval), and happy to live in squalor. He seems to win all his cases (or maybe he only talks about the ones he won). But there wasn't an awful lot of detail in the book and much less stuff about what went on in court than I'd expected. Specifically, we only got brief edited highlights of the case of the putative strangler - highlights of the bits where he puts questions to the witnesses, but nothing at all about what the prosecution says.

And I'm not sure how "real" this is meant to be, but there were bits in this that seemed pretty unconvincing: for example, I assumed that the "ASBO" served on Rumpole was an office joke, but he ends up in court defending himself against a charge which could lead to a prison sentence. Eh?

Maybe this was a bit of a pot-boiler, and the other books would be better. But I'm not sure really what the fuss is about.

Completed : 02-Dec-2009 (audiobook)

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