Having written dozens of Rumpole stories, Mortimer in 2004 published his first novel featuring the Old Bailey advocate, Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders, which recalls the early case that made his reputation and incidentally led to marriage with Hilda. Rumpole and the Reign of Terror also is a novel, with Hilda as conarrator and aspiring memoirist. Notwithstanding this new narrative approach, there is much that is familiar from earlier entries in the Rumpole saga: his antiestablishment attitude, especially toward the judiciary; his sympathy for society’s outsiders; his almost paternalistic attitude toward the Timsons, the clan of petty thieves who are his frequent clients; and multiple story lines. In addition, recurring characters make cameo appearances: “Soapy Sam” Ballard, Q. C., hapless head of chambers and Rumpole’s nominal superior; Claude Erskine-Brown, an ineffectual colleague whose wife’s legal career puts his to shame; Ferdinand Ian Gilmour Newton, also known as Fig Newton, Rumpole’s private investigator, who always has a cold; and Dodo Mackintosh, Hilda’s old school friend and occasional guest, whose dislike of Rumpole is matched by his antipathy toward her.
While defending a Timson client, Rumpole is engaged by another family member, Tiffany Timson Khan, but not to finesse a burglary charge. Rather, her husband, a London physician whose family had emigrated from Pakistan in the 1970’s, was arrested as a...
(The entire section is 557 words.)