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).