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Summary

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the young, feisty, devastatingly acute Horace Rumpole in this collection of cracking cases, also starring Timothy West as the older Rumpole. 

Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders: It is the '50s, and two war heroes have been shot dead. Defending the suspect is deemed hopeless, so the case is handed to a novice. But the novice's superiors didn't count on the tenacity and wit of the young and hungry Horace Rumpole as he defends the accused alone and without a leader for the very first time. This two-part adaptation of the novel by John Mortimer also marks the beginning of Rumpole's lifelong liaison with Hilda ("She Who Must Be Obeyed"). 

Rumpole and the Family Pride: We rejoin Rumpole and Hilda in the late 1950s, when they have been married for a year or two. Hilda's cousin lives with her husband, the 17th Baron Sackbut, in Sackbut Castle on the Yorkshire Moors. Hilda and Rumpole are invited to the castle when a body is found in the grounds. Meanwhile, in London, Rumpole defends a tramp who has confessed to a triple murder. 

Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle: When Rumpole and Hilda attend a concert performed by The Casterini Trio, Rumpole is surprised to be approached by Elizabeth Casterini - the trio's beautiful violinist. But then, the trio's cellist, Tom Randall, is murdered. Elizabeth's husband is arrested, and Rumpole agrees to defend him at the Old Bailey.

Duration: 3 hrs approx.

©2017 John Mortimer (P)2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd

Critic reviews

"A deliciously fun listen." (Audiofile Magazine)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Nigel
  • Berkshire, UK
  • 04-01-18

Don’t start with this Rumpole - 5*

Best start with some other BBC Rumpole dramatisations before this one. Why? Well in this release we find out how he met his wife, Hilda ‘she who must be obeyed’ and listen to his eminent case ‘the Penge Bungalow murders’ which he often refers to in other stories. [Search under “BBC Rumpole”; currently there are two other previous releases available on Audible.co.uk.] It’s much more interesting finding out these things at a later stage.

Lastly there are two Rumpole’s in this production, not that the front cover eludes to that. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the ‘young’ Rumpole, and Timothy West is the ‘elder’ incarnation. I assume due Mr Cumberbatch’s higher profile, poor Timothy got bumped from the front cover. Both are equally superb.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Young Rumpole, young Hilda, great stuff

The mysterious and oft-quoted triumph of young Horace in the Penge Bungalow Murders - alone and without a leader! - explained, as well as the inexplicable courtship of two strong but superficially incompatible characters. The combination of Timothy West and Benedict Cumberbatch as Rumpole in grumpy maturity and in embryonic form in his early career works well. (On radio, don’t think it would work visually!) Both are versatile actors and the audio format has the great benefit of engaging the imagination of the audience without any distractions. Obviously it also allows actors who are in great demand to take on more roles and more diverse parts than would otherwise be possible. Three cheers for BBC Radio 4!! I’m so glad Audible gives us the opportunity to own radio classics (Yes, Minister, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Old Harry’s Game, Cabin Pressure....) as well as a plethora of books, including a growing collection of works in languages other than English.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable time spend with Rumpole and his adventures

I enjoyed the point of view of the more mature Rumpole and also the general cast and crew for producing such an excellent work. I didn't need to close my eyes to imagine the places Rumpole was at or with whom; as the background noises, the massive cast that took extra roles and all the massive work that has happened behind the scenes produced such an entraining result. I must admit of not knowing anything about Rumpole before I listened to this audio book but now if BBC4 does another audio book like that for Rumpole I am sure to get it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Cumberbatch does it again

he didn’t do it all though. The entire cast was excellent. Obviously the writing superb.

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Quintessential Rumpole<br />

High quality BBC production with an all star cast. Brilliant from beginning to end! You will find yourself wanting to start all over again!

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Highly entertaining!

Cast superb. Benedict Cumberbatch captured Rumpole perfectly. Wonderful comedic turns by entire cast. Great entertainment.

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disapointing

What would have made Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders and Other Stories better?

Two of the Chapters are repeats from other books

What could John Mortimer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Had New stories included in this book

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Best bit

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Early stories really good

Any additional comments?

waste of time dont buy

2 of 12 people found this review helpful