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Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders and Other Stories cover art

Rumpole: The Penge Bungalow Murders and Other Stories

By: John Mortimer
Narrated by: Benedict Cumberbatch, Timothy West, full cast, Jasmine Hyde, Cathy Sara
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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 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2017 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Critic reviews

"A deliciously fun listen." (Audiofile Magazine)

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

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A thoroughly enjoyable listen

A quality production and professional performance of gentler times.

I enjoyed the “book” very much.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Cumberbatch does it again

he didn’t do it all though. The entire cast was excellent. Obviously the writing superb.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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At last the truth about the Penge Murders

Good to know the real story behind Rumpole famous Penge victory throughout his long career at the bar

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

simply superb

fantastic cast, beautifully written, delightfully performed. just a brilliant piece of radio. thank you

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable time spend with Rumpole and his adventures

I enjoyed the point of view of the more mature Rumpole and also the general cast and crew for producing such an excellent work. I didn't need to close my eyes to imagine the places Rumpole was at or with whom; as the background noises, the massive cast that took extra roles and all the massive work that has happened behind the scenes produced such an entraining result. I must admit of not knowing anything about Rumpole before I listened to this audio book but now if BBC4 does another audio book like that for Rumpole I am sure to get it!

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quintessential Rumpole

High quality BBC production with an all star cast. Brilliant from beginning to end! You will find yourself wanting to start all over again!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Highly entertaining!

Cast superb. Benedict Cumberbatch captured Rumpole perfectly. Wonderful comedic turns by entire cast. Great entertainment.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration, true to the original

I've loved the book and TV series and this version kept true to both. The narrator and actors were good and lived up to how I pictured the characters. It kept a good pace, I listened in one go and I will listen again.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Don’t start with this Rumpole - 5*

Best start with some other BBC Rumpole dramatisations before this one. Why? Well in this release we find out how he met his wife, Hilda ‘she who must be obeyed’ and listen to his eminent case ‘the Penge Bungalow murders’ which he often refers to in other stories. [Search under “BBC Rumpole”; currently there are two other previous releases available on Audible.co.uk.] It’s much more interesting finding out these things at a later stage.

Lastly there are two Rumpole’s in this production, not that the front cover eludes to that. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the ‘young’ Rumpole, and Timothy West is the ‘elder’ incarnation. I assume due Mr Cumberbatch’s higher profile, poor Timothy got bumped from the front cover. Both are equally superb.

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18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Young Rumpole, young Hilda, great stuff

The mysterious and oft-quoted triumph of young Horace in the Penge Bungalow Murders - alone and without a leader! - explained, as well as the inexplicable courtship of two strong but superficially incompatible characters. The combination of Timothy West and Benedict Cumberbatch as Rumpole in grumpy maturity and in embryonic form in his early career works well. (On radio, don’t think it would work visually!) Both are versatile actors and the audio format has the great benefit of engaging the imagination of the audience without any distractions. Obviously it also allows actors who are in great demand to take on more roles and more diverse parts than would otherwise be possible. Three cheers for BBC Radio 4!! I’m so glad Audible gives us the opportunity to own radio classics (Yes, Minister, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Old Harry’s Game, Cabin Pressure....) as well as a plethora of books, including a growing collection of works in languages other than English.

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4 people found this helpful