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Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders and Other Stories

Three BBC Radio 4 dramatisations
Written by: John Mortimer
Length: 2 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's 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

What the critics say

"A deliciously fun listen." (Audiofile Magazine)

What listeners say about Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders and Other Stories

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Frances Rouse
  • 2018-07-17

Fun to read

Rumpol, once again entertains with his dry wit and logical mind This is a fun read, narration is very good.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Keion L
  • 2018-10-30

great read and Mr Cumberbatch is the man!

I highly enjoyed the stories and what else can i say about Mr Cumberbatch? I will listen to any book he's narrating.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jenny Jenkins
  • 2018-07-23

Benedict Cumberland as Young Rumpole: Delightful!

Of course, was Rumpole ever really young? He was probably born a curmudgeon and Timothy West, who reads the Rumpole stories on audio and does so wonderfully, also plays the older reflective Rumpole to perfection here. But Benedict Cumberbatch adds a wry, dry twist to these stories that always leave me wanting more. Perfect casting all the way around -- and effective abridgment of the original by the writers and producers.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-06-12

These short mysteries were delicious!

I used to sit in my car after an insanely long day just to hear the "who dunnit" ending to the very late at night radio mysteries. Each turn, twist and clue....you really have to be listening. These were well written, the cast played them wonderfully and the endings sweetly unexpected!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth H.
  • 2019-09-22

Rumpole is far different from Poirot

I did not know anything about the Rumpole series before picking this audiobook up. Having enjoyed previous BBC Radio dramatizations I felt this one would be enjoyable as well. The multi cast members gave a wonderful performance and these three short stories were interesting. Unfortunately I don’t believe I will buy another Rumpole book. It is interesting to see a mystery unravel from a lawyer’s viewpoint vs a detective’s, however I did not enjoy this book as much as I do Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot books.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynn Cook
  • 2019-05-04

Mr. Mortimer excellent as always

Very British, very enjoyable. The whole cast was the making of the audible version. More please.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 2018-10-15

Comfortably old fashioned with great voice cast

The first of the BBC Rumpole dramatizations with a great cast including Timothy West and Benedict Cumberbach as the old and younger Rumpole. Very old fashioned and English. It's gentle comfortable feel good listening. I will probably purchase the others, although not immediately.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lyn
  • 2018-08-14

BBC Performance...no a true audiobook

I totally enjoyed the 'book' but I would have preferred a true reading of Mortimer's text.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brett Green
  • 2018-06-08

Excellent Adaptation

Great stories, with a full cast. Timothy West as the old Rumpole really shines. This really brings these stories to life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Olsklgal
  • 2019-07-17

Pence Bungalow

I loved the way these series are put together like they used to do during radio period when television didn’t I’d not exist. I found myself laughing actors are superb and Benedict is just absolutely fantastic.