I like John Mortimer's writing and I am a great fan of the original Rumpole TV series, starring Leo McKern. However, in spite of wanting to like this book, I found it a little tedious. For me it was too long and the story line was not strong enough. It might be that I was so keen to hear about Rumpole’s most famous case that my expectations were too high, or it might have been that I have become used to more complex and fast moving stories. Either way, I would only recommend this for Rumpole fans that want to finally find out what happened in that Penge bungalow. I would however like to give great credit to Bill Wallis, the narrator, who did a great job in providing believable and unique voices to all of the characters.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Bill Wallis gave a lesson in storytelling. His range and realism of character voices astounded.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes - good to get the Penge Bungalow storey at last as mentioned in all preceding Rumpole books.
What did you like best about this story?
Historic version of characters
Have you listened to any of Bill Wallis’s other performances? How does this one compare?
Yes - voice a bit gruffer but still good.
A chance to hear the story of Rumpoles most famous case cannot be turned down
and as you would expect John Mortimer delivers a story full of all we have grown
to love about our beloved hero of equity court a story full of surprises and humor
a must for all his fans
This is a great listen. I love the Rumpole stories and this gives a good bit of background to the characters many of us know and love, as well as the story of Rumpole's oft quoted first legal triumph 'alone and without a leader'. Whilst you could listen to Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders as a standalone novel, I think that reading/listening to some of the other Rumpole books first would give you a more rounded enjoyment of this story.
As usual Bill Wallis does an excellent job of narration, he embodies the characters beautifully and really adds to the audiobook experience.
Bill Wallis was the ultimate performer of audiobooks. He could do old/young, male/female, of any social stratum, English regional, Scots,( varied - Edinburgh or Glasgow, Highland or Lowland) Welsh, Irish and other accents like no one else I've heard.
I'm glad John Mortimer had time to write the Rumpole origin story before he died - otherwise it would have been subject to "spinoff".
Don't expect total consistency - not from Rumpole (check your own memories) or from Mortimer, but it is a good story of that mysterious professional triumph, "alone and without a leader"!
Young Hilda plays her part, and BW makes her sound a younger and more idealistic "She-who-must-be-obeyed", thwarted in her own career, in spite of her intelligence and education - no ladies' loos in Chambers! - and her adoption of the socially and sexually inept Rumpole is described.
These two people, never able to recover from English middle-class upbringing by nannies and early boarding schools - although Hilda at least enjoys long homosocial relationships with Dido, and others - actually "love" each other just as much as they are able.
Over the course of Rumpole's long fictional history, I think the saddest thing is Hilda reduced to battles with Horace over the cost of Vim. But at least he never grudges her a gin and tonic!