John Mortimer: The Devil's Advocate – The Unauthorised Biography by Graham Lord - review by Valerie Grove

Valerie Grove

Et Alors?

John Mortimer: The Devil's Advocate – The Unauthorised Biography

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‘Poor old authorised Valerie Grove,’ writes Graham Lord, in a final chapter aptly called The Bitter End. ‘How is she ever going to be able to tell the complete truth about Mortimer?’ Lord explains that since Sir John Mortimer withheld co-operation on his biography (and appointed me to write one instead), this is a vastly different book from the one he might have written with Mortimer’s approval. He wrote it faster, for a start. (He also sent angry letters to Mortimer’s friends, saying ‘If Sir John’s friends won’t see me, I shall have to resort to his enemies.’)

But I don’t think this constraint makes Lord’s book all that different. His judicious appraisals of Mortimer’s work – giving credit where it is due for effort, wit and originality, and candidly critical of slipshod, humdrum or repetitive work – would have been much the same. The press cuttings, where

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