Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rumpole of the Bailey creator John Mortimer dies
Alison Flood writing in The Guardian, Friday 16 January 2009

John Mortimer. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/Guardian

Rumpole of the Bailey creator John Mortimer, 85, died this morning following a prolonged illness. His family said in a statement that they were by his side when he passed away.
Mortimer, who lived in what was formerly his father's house in the Chilterns, had been in a London hospital until a few days before Christmas before coming home, after which his condition deteriorated, said Tony Lacey, Mortimer's editor at Penguin.
The novelist, playwright and former barrister, who was born in London in 1923, was known and loved for the comic lawyer Rumpole, whose dedication to cheap wine and motto "never plead guilty", has been his most enduring creation.
"He would announce to me on the phone that he thought he ought to 'do a Rumpole' on asbos or weapons of mass destruction, or some similar topic about which he felt particularly strongly. Rumpole and John became increasingly fused," said Lacey.
Mortimer originally wrote the series for television, later spinning it off into a series of books and radio programmes.
Up until his death he was producing more than one book a year, with his confinement to a wheelchair not stopping him from touring a one-man show around the country.
For the full report link here to the Guardian online.
And for the New York Times report link here.


The Bookman reviewed Mortimer's latest, In Other Words, on the blog on 16 December 2008, while it was January '08 that I looked at his last Rumpole novel.

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