Rumpole at ChristmasBook - 2009
Pantos, puds and a Father Christmas who isn't quite what he seems to be . . .
Horace Rumpole isn't particularly fond of Christmas Day - he finds that time has a horrible habit of hanging heavily on the hands as he and She Who Must Be Obeyed go through the usual rituals in Froxbury Mansions- after the exchange of presents (lavender water for her, a tie for him), they settle down to a supermarket turkey with all the trimmings followed by a glass of port. The only excitement comes in deciding whether to stand for the National Anthem after the Queen's Speech. But at least the criminal fraternity rarely takes a holiday, so over the years Rumpole has often found his festive celebrations disturbed in most welcome ways.
The Father Christmas who behaves suspiciously at Number 4, Equity Court's Christmas party. The high-profile murder trial which comes up at the Bailey just before the holiday season. The actor who goes missing from the panto on the night of a major crime. These are perhaps not unexpected interruptions in the life of a great criminal barrister. But even when Rumpole is prevailed upon by She Who Must Be Obeyed to take a break out of town, he finds himself called to action- a body is discovered at the health farm where Rumpole is gloomily trying to survive the Christmas season on a diet of yak's milk and steamed spinach.
When Sir John Mortimer died early in 2009, it was widely agreed that Rumpole of the Bailey was his greatest fictional creation. In these delightful Christmas stories, never before published in book form, the great barrister lives on.