Thomas Dunne Books
John G. Roberts
The Devil's Advocate
The unauthorised biography of the celebrated English writer and barrister
2005 - Orion - UK hardback
2006 - Orion - UK paperback
2006 - St Martin's Press - US hardback "John Mortimer -
The Secret Lives of Rumpole's Creator"
2007 – Universal Law Publishing – Indian paperback
“Full of delicious scandal” – Sophie Parkin, Daily Mail
“A scrotum-and-all exposé of the national treasure” – Rowan Pelling, Independent on Sunday
“Lord has dredged up all the dirt he can . . . a sad and sordid tale” – Richard Ingrams, Observer
“Graham Lord is the Bad Boy of literary biography . . . revealing aspects of their lives that they would prefer to keep under wraps . . . Rumbustious yet censorious, prurient yet perceptive” – Jeremy Lewis, Sunday Times
Mortimer “emerges from behind his cuddly and charming image as a sometimes cruel, insecure, grasping, self-satisfied man . . . does not lack sympathy, but nor does it let the old goat off the hook” – Christopher Silvester, Daily Telegraph
“I honestly can't recall a book that is at once so enjoyable and so deplorable. Graham Lord goes out of his way to be exhilaratingly insensitive.” – Roger Lewis, Daily Express
In Britain every generation produces a national treasure, a lovable John Bull figure so English that he could not possibly be of any other nationality: first Sir P.G.Wodehouse, then Sir John Betjeman and now Sir John Mortimer.
Mortimer has delighted millions all over the world by writing seven television series about his gloriously larger-than-life fictional barrister, Horace Rumpole - Rumpole of the Bailey – as well as novels, autobiographies, stage plays, film-scripts, short stories, television and radio plays, newspaper articles and even an opera and a ballet. Among his greatest theatrical triumphs was his stage and television play A Voyage Round My Father, in which his father was played by Alec Guinness, Michael Redgrave and Laurence Olivier, and in April 2005 he won a British Book Awards trophy for Lifetime Achievement.
He also practised as a barrister for thirty-six years, defending husbands, wives, pornographers and murderers in court and starring as the “Devil’s Advocate” in several legendary obscenity and blasphemy cases in the 1970s to become a liberal hero of the Permissive Society, and he served on numerous worthy committees including those of the National and Royal Court Theatres, the Royal Society of Literature and the Howard League for Penal Reform.
Yet despite Mortimer’s huge success, fame, knighthood and numerous sexual conquests there lurks beneath his genial ‘champagne socialist’ mask an unusually complex man who has been plagued by depression, doubt, insecurity and an irresistible urge to commit adultery.
Graham Lord, whose discovery that Mortimer had a secret son by the British actress Wendy Craig forced Sir John to admit it publicly in 2004, has interviewed scores of his family, friends, mistresses and enemies to write a devastating biography that reveals the startling reality behind the cuddly image – a book that Mortimer at first encouraged and then tried desperately to censor, in vain.