John Mortimer was one of the most famous authors from The United kingdom, who liked to write mystery, literature & fiction, thriller, and nonfiction novels. He was also a barrister, screenwriter, and dramatist. Author Mortimer was born as John Clifford Mortimer on April 21, 1923, and died on January 16, 2009. His birth had taken place in Hamsptead, London. He was the only kid of his parents, Kathleen May and Clifford Mortimer. The author’s father was a barrister by profession, who turned blind due to an accident in 1936. Author Mortimer received his education from the Dragon School, Oxford, and then from the Harrow School. At was at this school that Mortimer became a part of the Communist Party. He formed a one member cell in the party. Initially, author Mortimer wanted to become an actor as his acting in the lead role in Richard II, a school play, was highly praised by his school authorities. Later, he wished to become a writer, but his father ordered him not to go for both these career fields. He warned him that as per the family rules, he will be kicked out of his house if he chooses any of the two professions. Then, at the age of 17, Mortimer joined the Brasenose College in Oxford and studied law. For most duration of his law study, Mortimer was based in the Christ Church building due to the requisitioning of the Brasenose buildings for war effort. In 1942, Mortimer was asked to vacate the Christ Church premises by its Dean after his romantic letters written for a 6th-former from Bradfield College, named Quentin Edwards, had come into the hands of the house master of the young man. Later, Mortimer completed his graduation with a BA degree from Oxford in 1943.

At one point, Mortimer considered joining the military service during the Second World War, but he was not found fit because of his weak eyes and lungs. Therefore, he began working under Laurie Lee for writing scripts of propaganda documentaries. The first novel that author Mortimer wrote was based on his vast experiences while working for the film unit. In 19555, Mortimer made his debut for radio in the form of a dramatist. He started by adapting his own book for the Light Programme on BBC. However, his debut as original playwright happened with the adaptation of The Dock Brief. This program starred Michael Hordern in the role of a hapless barrister and was broadcast on the BBC’s Third Programme in 1957. Author Mortimer’s legal career was started in 1948, when he was 25 years old. Initially, he was involved in doing divorce and testamentary work. But by 1966, he had started taking up criminal law works. Mortimer’s highest profile in this field came through the cases related to obscenity claims. Once author Mortimer got the chance to work as a defense counsel during the trial of Oz conspiracy in 1971. Over the next few years, Mortimer took up defense cases for a number of prominent clients. At serving for 36 years at the bar, author Mortimer finally decided to retire in 1984. The name of Mortimer is best remembered for developing the popular character named Barrister Horace Rumpole. He stated at that time that the character was inspired by his own father.

Horace Rumpole especially defended all those accused people who were charged with committing crimes in the Old Bailey region of London. In 1975, author Mortimer introduced Rumpole’s character in a BBC play. Author Mortimer had mentioned that Alistair Sim and Leo McKern were best suited to play the Horace Rumpole’s character. Subsequently, this idea was nurtured and McKern was asked to play the lead role in the television series for the Thames Television. A series of few books featuring Rumpole were also written by Mortimer for BBC Radio 4. As far as the personal life of author Mortimer is concerned, he married several times in his lifetime. First, he was hitched with Penelope Fletcher in 1949. She too was an author. Their marriage did not last for very long and they eventually separated. Then, Mortimer married Gallop after one year of his divorce. Mortimer and Gallop used to live in a Buckinghamshire village. They remained married until Mortimer’s death in 2009. Author Mortimer had many children from both his marriages as well as from his outside affairs. He was awarded with the CBE in the year 1986. Mortimer received knighthood in 1998. His death occurred due to long illness following a stroke attack in 2008.

The Rumple of Bailey series written by John Mortimer is comprised of 16 novels in total, which were released between the years 1978 and 2009. The first book in this series was published as ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’. It was released in 1980 by the Penguin Books. Author Mortimer introduced Horace Rumpole’s character for the first time in this novel. The book also introduced a number of other regular characters of the overall series. Some of the prominent characters include Horace’s wife Hilda, Philida Trant, Old Tom, etc. Rumpole appears to be a lovely character. He had great ideals in life and efficient common sense. Rumpole likes to smoke cigars, drink claret, and quotes Wordsworth and Shakespeare. The story is written in a funny and intricate manner, describing the courtroom trials. The success of this book allowed it to be adapted into a TV series. Another mind blowing novel published in the thriller series is entitled ‘Rumpole for Defense’. Released in 1984, this book appears more delightful than all the previous books of the series. Once again Horace Rumpole provides excellent humor. He seems utterly unflappable and slightly amused and detached from the challenges that life throws at him. He does not find any difference between the challenges that he faces in court and while living with his spouse. However, the humor and wit of Horace Rumpole once again worked wonders for the story. They delight and charm the plot and depict the proceedings of one more thrilling case that Rumpole comes across. The interesting story and beautiful narration of the book were highly appreciated by the readers. They praised the story and author Mortimer’s efforts in developing it. Even the critics lauded him and liked his work very much. Mortimer was pleased with the immense positive responses that he got for his book. Such positive reviews boosted his confidence and motivated him to produce many more interesting novels in his career in the future. The success of his novels gave him the opportunity to get them adapted into television series for well known channels like BBC. His television programs were broadcast all over the UK.

Books in order of publication:

Rumpole Books

Rumpole of the Bailey(1978) 
The Trials of Rumpole(1979) 
Regina v Rumpole(1981) 
Rumpole’s Return(1982) 
Rumpole(1982) 
Rumpole for the Defence(1982) 
Rumpole and the Golden Thread(1983) 
Rumpole for the Prosecution(1986) 
Rumpole’s Last Case(1987) 
Rumpole and the Age of Miracles(1988) 
Rumpole and the Age for Retirement(1989) 
Rumpole a La Carte(1990) 
Rumpole On Trial(1992) 
The Best of Rumpole(1993) 
Rumpole and the Younger Generation(1995) 
Rumpole and the Angel of Death(1995) 
Rumpole Rests His Case(2001) 
Rumpole and the Primrose Path(2002) 
Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders(2004) 
Rumpole and the Reign of Terror(2006) 
The Anti-social Behaviour of Horace Rumpole(2007) 
Rumpole Misbehaves(2007) 
Rumpole at Christmas(2009) 
A Rumpole Christmas(2009) 
Forever Rumpole(2011) 
The Collected Stories of Rumpole(2013) 

Rapstone Chronicles Books

Paradise Postponed(1985) 
Titmuss Regained(1989) 
The Sound of Trumpets(1998) 

Standalone Novels

Charade(1947) 
Like Men Betrayed(1953) 
The Narrowing Stream(1954) 
Summer’s Lease(1998) 
Dunster(1992) 
Felix in the Underworld(1997) 
Quite Honestly(2005) 

Chapbooks

The Scales of Justice(2005)

Plays

A Voyage Round My Father(2010) 

Non-Fiction Books

With Love & Lizards(1957) 
Clinging to the Wreckage(1982) 
The Oxford Book of Villains(1992) 
Murderers and Other Friends(1994) 
The Summer of a Dormouse(2000) 
Where There’s a Will(2003) 
Zerah Colburn the Spirit of Darkness(2005) 
In Other Words(2008)