cover image Murderers and Other Friends: 2another Part of Life

Murderers and Other Friends: 2another Part of Life

John Clifford Mortimer / Author Viking Books $23.95 (272p) ISB

British novelist and playwright Mortimer (Paradise Postponed) begins this second volume of his autobiography at the point when he left his career as a barrister in the 1960s and was appointed to the position of Queen's Counsel. In entertaining and perceptive vignettes, his sequel to Clinging to the Wreckage (1982) recalls trials over which Mortimer presided that inspired the plot lines and characters populating Rumpole of the Bailey and the series that followed. Eventually leaving the law entirely, he devoted himself to writing. His reminiscences mention his friendships with actors and authors, including John Gielgud, David Niven and Harold Pinter. A principled nonbeliever (he refers to himself as ``an atheist for Christ''), Mortimer helped to found the ``20th of June'' group that protested the conservatism of the Thatcher government. (His collaborators in this effort included Pinter and various social activists.) Mortimer also describes the work he has done in adapting such novels for film and TV as Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)