• Rumpole of the Bailey

  • The Rumpole of the Bailey Series, Book 1
  • By: John Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (225 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Horace Rumpole, the irreverent, iconoclastic, claret-swilling, poetry-spouting barrister at law, is among the most beloved characters of English crime literature. He is not a particularly gifted attorney, nor is he particularly fond of the law by courts if it comes to that, but he’d rather be swinging at a case than bowing to his wife Hilda, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.

In this first title of the popular series featuring Rumpole, all of the major characters who occupy the Rumpole stories make their introductions: the sneaky, slightly effeminate Erskine-Brown, the bumbling Guthrie Featherstone and various and sundry other lawyers and clerks whose lives weave in and out of these stories. These six stories include the "Younger Generation", the "Alternative Society", the "Honourable Member", the "Married Lady", the "Learned Friends", and the "Heavy Brigade".

It's legal: download more of Rumpole's cases.
©1978 Advanpress, Ltd (P)1991 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Mortimer has created one of the legendary fictional detectives…a barrister [who’s] as much a detective as Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot.” ( Boston Sunday Globe)

What listeners say about Rumpole of the Bailey

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • VW
  • 08-30-18

Rambling and irreverent, Rumpole captures you

Rumpole is not always likable, not often successful , at least according to his colleagues, but he has a sense of humor and you, as a reader, root for him.
This book covers quite a long swath of history as lived by the main characters and that is interesting. The crimes described are not particularly complicated. The trial process and the related human interactions is what is important here.
The voice actor is very good. He brought the story to life.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

rumpole of the bailey series, book 1

in addition to a good story, the narrator is what prompts me to make a final choice when purchasing an audio. this one has it all!! when you love a story, you never want it to end so i tend to love series. i always loved reading even as a child. sadly as we grow older responsilbities to life seem to overtake the things we loved as a child. as a crafter my hands are always kept busy. so in writing my first review of my first audiobook ever, i am also writing a review about audible. hands down am so happy to discover all that you have to offer!!
my experience with you has opened up a whole new world for me. better yet you make it so easy. the entire site is so user friendly and i thank you from the bottom of my heart. i have already recommended audible to some of my friends and would recommend you to anybody. thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. sincerely, cheryl

3 people found this helpful

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standard Rumpole

Guthrie Featherstone for the prosecution, judge bullingham thundering from the bench, and Nick visiting from Baltimore to watch his daddy defend the Timpson clan from the workings of British justice.

2 people found this helpful

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1 person found this helpful

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An amusing set of tales

Many years ago, I watched with delight the BBC's dramatization of these stories. The book is even better than the TV shows.

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Davidson is magnificent, but audio problems...

tend at times to distract from his performance. Nothing that can't be tolerated, but when someone reads so well the production should support it. I'm a Rumpole fan so of course, loved the story.

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Culturally dated but witty and perfectly performed

The casual sexism and occasional racially outdated language are products of the era. The sparkling reading of Rumpole’s self-aggrandizing and overly dramatic accounts is truly perfect, and much of the situational humor (based in the inherent ridiculousness of British law) holds up well.

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Enjoyable Rumpole of the Bailey tales

Frederick Davidson does a splendid job of performing all the characters in these tales, conjuring up the 60s and 70s era with great gusto. The ghost of Leo McKern, who played Rumpole on TV, hovers in the background. All good fun.

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Not my cup of tea

I heard good things about Rumpole, so I thought I'd take a listen to this audiobook. I quit after the second chapter because it ended up being a bit too snobby and critical for my taste. That said, this work is very erudite, and the wordsmithery is impressive. The narration is top-notch, both in terms of performance and mastering. However, the main character's cynicism and critical nature ended up being too grating for me, but I suspect that those who like sardonic, sarcastic humor will enjoy this.

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Briefs, Bowlers, Barristers and Wordsworth....

An Absolute delight. The Narrator is a vocal caricaturist of infinite range; a transcendental genius.