I'm a lifelong fan of Rumpole, John Mortimer's grumpy, poetry-spouting criminal defense barrister, star of books, TV, and radio. John Mortimer died in 2009, and Rumpole at Christmas was published last Christmas season, but I missed it then. I just picked up a copy and inhaled it in a day, and I'm back to tell you just how pleasurable it was.
Rumpole at Christmas consists of seven Christmas stories, all published in magazines or broadcast on radio between 2001 and 2007. Each is a perfect little Rumpole tale, in which the grumpy, fat lawyer confronts and rejects modernity, exposes hypocrisy, drinks a lot of cheap wine, smokes many cheap cigars, and allows just a sliver of sentimental softness to peek out amid the murders and crimes. Mortimer's Rumpole is witty and rhetorical, his internal monologue a perpetual rehearsal for a jury he hopes to sway with sly humour, generally at the expense of authority figures, faddish trends, and propriety.
Six of the stories are short enough to read aloud around a roaring fire over whiskeys, the seventh, Rumpole and the Health Farm Murder, is just the right length for reading before bed. I've been reading Rumpole since I was a boy, and while Mortimer left us a mountain of Rumpole stories, they'll never be enough.
Rumpole at Christmas
The Black Mill is a New Weird comic from Paul Di Filippo, a treasure of science fiction, drawn by Orion Zangara and colored and lettered by Derek Chase.
Fresh Comfy is a Thai scarf-seller whose gauzy chiffon scarves come screened with motifs from literary classics, in a variety of finishes (grey, black, off-white, full color): Anne of Green Gables cover; Harry Potter Marauders’ Map; Map of Middle Earth; Pride and Prejudice cover; the Cheshire Cat; Romeo and Juliet title-page; Sherlock Holmes engravings; Alice […]
Dead on Paper makes many beautiful, strange things, but I’m most taken by two of its custom coins.
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]
How do Google and YouTube really work? It turns out, Python kind of runs things around those parts. And with this bootcamp, you’ll get whipped into shape and ready to start programming yourself. Whether you’re a Python pro and just want to sharpen your skills, or a total tech newbie with little or no coding […]