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Rumpole took the liberty of altering Shakespeare a little when he offered the meeting at his Chambers a choice quotation from Henry V. It reflected what he was thinking: that it was about time he committed to paper his memories of the Penge Bungalow affair. It would be scandalous, after all, and an affront to history, if the details of such a famous case were to become lost in the mists of time.
Horace Rumpole had been a novice at Number 4 Equity Court, fresh from a quiet war in RAF groundstaff and a law degree at Oxford, when the murders at Penge first hit the headlines: two war heroes, bomber pilots who'd flown numerous sorties together over Europe, apparently shot dead after a reunion dinner by the son of one of them, young Simon Jerold.
Young he might have been, but in those dark post-war days Simon Jerold was facing the ultimate punishment. There seemed little he could hope for, since the evidence was so incriminating. Even old Wystan - head of Chambers, father of Hilda and ostensibly there to conduct Jerold's defence - seemed to have given up the game. But not Rumpole. There was something about the evidence which bothered him and, though he was only Wystan' s Junior in the case, when the time came for him to seize the initiative, he did it triumphantly- like King Harry himself.
In this first full-length Rumpole novel, the great man himself answers a number of intriguing questions which have been asked over the years: principally, how it was that he first became the object of She Who Must Be Obeyed's desire and how he made his reputation in the case that echoes down the corridors of the Bailey to this day.