Bob Cannon
December 12, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Rumpole and the Primrose Path

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
John Mortimer
publisher
Viking
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

As England’s beloved barrister Horace Rumpole languishes in a convalescent home, the Equity Court’s new PR whiz excitedly prepares his memorial service. But Rumpole is decidedly alive — and still nosy. In the title story of Rumpole and the Primrose Path, a collection of John Mortimer’s mysteries, Rumpole uncovers the truth behind a wealthy patient’s death — in a manner only he could devise. In ”Scales of Justice,” he defends a police commander accused of the attempted murder of a prominent sawbones. Though Mortimer builds his tales toward predictable ”aha!” moments, his real gifts are his daffy minor characters: a flirtatious female judge, a pole-dancing informant, and Rumpole’s long-suffering wife, Hilda (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed).

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