This was my first foray into the Rumpole series, but I found that, apart from the occasional (footnoted) reference to the events of previous stories, it didn’t really spoil my enjoyment. Characters are introduced succinctly but enough that you get the gist of their personality, even if they’re new to you.
Rumpole’s narrative voice is slightly pompous, but benevolently sarcastic and willing enough to laugh at himself as well as others. It reminded me rather of P G Wodehouse, whose narrators manage to turn trivial events into amusing anecdotes. While each short story centres around the conclusion of a court case he’s involved in, the settings and characters vary enough to maintain interest, and the narrator remains likeable throughout.
It’s not the book to read if you’re looking for excitement, but it is a charming and amusing set of short stories, ideal to dip into with a cup of tea and guaranteed to leave you in a good mood.
Next up: The Final Sacrament, by James Forrester