Rumpole lives

Even if John Mortimer has exited the premises:

John Mortimer, barrister, author, playwright and creator of Horace Rumpole, the cunning defender of the British criminal classes, died on Friday at his home in Oxfordshire, England. He was 85.

As with Wodehouse, one does not read John Mortimer expecting surprises, insight, or philosophy. One simply reads him for the absurd pleasure of wallowing in Rumpole. But underneath the humor, the writer’s eye was a keen one, especially when it came to chronicling the essential farce of the human condition.

“Dying is a matter of slapstick and pratfalls. The aging process is not gradual or gentle. It rushes up, pushes you over and runs off laughing. No one should grow old who isn’t ready to appear ridiculous.”

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