is an icon to attorneys on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Attired in his wig and robe, he is the envy of trial lawyers for
his scathing ability to skewer judges on the finer points of the
law and his passionate defense of prisoners at the bar who seemed
destined for a term in prison. He is English barrister Horace
Rumpole, a venerated legend for large numbers of English and
The curmudgeonly trial lawyer, the creation of English barrister
John Mortimer, first appeared in America on Public
Broadcasting’s “Mystery” television series.
Episodes of Rumpole of the Bailey ran for three decades on
American TV and spawned short stories and novels that centered on
the life of Rumpole, who loved to quote Wordsworth and defend those
whose cases often seemed to be hopeless. The Rumpole saga was for
many an education on the differences between the English legal
system and its counterpart across the Atlantic. Through Rumpole,
Mortimer educated many Americans about the law and important legal
issues in both England and America.
RUMPOLE MISBEHAVES is Mortimer’s latest effort in a series of
nearly 20 publications. The exact number is difficult to pinpoint
because their popularity has yielded many short stories, novellas
and compilations. But all of the Rumpole stories share a common
thread. As a practicing English barrister, Mortimer had strong
opinions on many important issues of the law. Rumpole serves as
Mortimer’s alter ego expressing concerns about those issues.
Over the past three decades they have ranged far and wide, but
Mortimer and Rumpole are both fierce defenders of civil liberties
and human rights. For Rumpole the freedoms enunciated in the
Magna Carta remain the bedrock foundation for English
In RUMPOLE MISBEHAVES, that target of Mortimer’s concern is
the Anti-Social behavior Order, or ASBO, a recent innovation of
English law directed