Rumpole and the Primrose Path

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With Rumpole Rests His Case, legions of fans welcomed back the curmudgeonly London barrister they had loved for years-and they are eager for more. The six new stories in Rumpole and the Primrose Path find Horace Rumpole-despite a heart attack that left him at death's door in the previous volume-deftly parrying everything from the admonitions of his wife, Hilda, to the vagaries of his legal colleagues and their new director of marketing, Luci. With her cell phone, corporate jargon, glossy brochures, and plans to ...

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Rumpole and the Primrose Path

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With Rumpole Rests His Case, legions of fans welcomed back the curmudgeonly London barrister they had loved for years-and they are eager for more. The six new stories in Rumpole and the Primrose Path find Horace Rumpole-despite a heart attack that left him at death's door in the previous volume-deftly parrying everything from the admonitions of his wife, Hilda, to the vagaries of his legal colleagues and their new director of marketing, Luci. With her cell phone, corporate jargon, glossy brochures, and plans to give their chambers a new image, Luci presumes Rumpole is soon to expire, and has been planning his memorial service. But the witty and irreverent Rumpole, sharp as ever, is far from hanging up his wig!

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Whether you're a longtime fan of the series (either the previous 12 books or the popular PBS television series Rumpole of the Bailey) or seeking an introduction to John Mortimer's disheveled yet surprisingly perceptive Old Bailey hack, the verdict is clear: Rumpole and the Primrose Path is a winner! Six stories grace this diverting collection, including the title yarn, which was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Short Story. Effects of the heart attack that laid Rumpole low in Rumpole Rests His Case still linger as the wily old barrister plots his escape from the Primrose Path convalescent home. But a cry for help from a favorite nurse accused of deadly wrongdoing offers Rumpole his chance to return to work -- and foils his colleagues' plan to "celebrate his life" before he's finished with it. Soon a gentlemanly offer (inspired by a New Year's resolution his wife insisted he undertake) gives Rumpole a new perspective on crime in the streets. Then, though grumbling about the scarcity of cases requiring his attention, Rumpole rebalances the scales of justice, reexamines the right to privacy, locates a vanishing juror, and redeems a tarnished reputation. John Mortimer's cleverly crafted plots and irreverent observations prove Rumpole is back in top form when it comes to irritating wrongheaded judges and turning the tables on wrongdoers. Sue Stone
From the Publisher
Rumpole's wit has not deserted him... Mortimer is in high form here. (The New Yorker)

For things most truly themselves, there should be a special place of honor... We should remember to be thankful for Rumpole. (The Washington Post)

Mortimer is the master of a crisp, witty, eminently readable prose style. (Los Angeles Times)

The New York Times
… Mortimer is delightfully playful throughout. He is instructive, too. British judges are much more active than American judges in discussing evidence with juries, to the dismay of many litigants. Mortimer, himself a former barrister, portrays most of the judges Rumpole meets as inattentive, arrogant and biased, and these depictions smell sweetly of payback. — Adam Liptak
The Washington Post
I don't know exactly what it is that makes these books so satisfying; maybe it's that Rumpole feels dismissed and under-appreciated at every turn, that his own sense of self-esteem is both so sturdy and so fragile that he so loves to tell his stories even though the attention of his listeners falters. Maybe it's that he so enjoys his office, with all its petty gossip and foiled affairs. Or maybe it's because he loves his own work with a petulant, impatient love, that he knows he's crack at what he does -- defending low-life crooks -- whether the larger world appreciates him or not. — Carolyn See
Publishers Weekly
In Rumpole's last outing, Rumpole Rests His Case (2002), Mortimer's beloved barrister suffered a near-fatal heart attack, but as shown in this delicious new story collection, Rumpole still has plenty of life left, despite the preparations some of his blithely insensitive colleagues in chambers make for his imminent demise. In the ingenious title tale, which has been nominated for an Edgar, Rumpole is recuperating in the Primrose Path Home, until the mysterious death of an elderly fellow patient prompts him to slip back to London, where he soon figures out that there's something fishy afoot at his former rest home. The five other entries offer puzzles nearly as clever, though in one story, in which a juror turns out to know someone connected to a murder case, the apparent lack of a voir dire process for screening jurors may strike some readers as odd. As always, however, it is the character of Rumpole and his supporting cast, headed by wife Hilda ("She Who Must Be Obeyed"), that provides such pleasure, along with a perfectly crafted style that owes much to P.G. Wodehouse. If at times the bumbling Rumpole, like Bertie Wooster, must suffer one comic humiliation after another, let it not be forgot that Rumpole, unlike Bertie, is a competent professional who operates in a recognizably real and often nasty contemporary world. May he, as his wife so confidently assumes over their anniversary dinner in the uplifting final story, "Rumpole Redeemed," be back for more legal escapades next year. (Dec. 1) Forecast: Rumpole's latest memoir volume is The Summer of a Dormouse (2001), which reflects some of the same concerns about aging. As usual for Mortimer, this collection will appeal as much to mainstream readers as mystery fans. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Like Sherlock Holmes, Horace Rumpole has returned from the grave (Rumpole Rests His Case, 2002), commencing with his no-nonsense escape from the dubious convalescent home in which he's been immured. Times have changed, he finds on his return to number 4 Equity Court. Samuel Ballard, QC, the Head of Chambers, has hired Luci Gribble as Director of Marketing and Administration, and the hard-bitten Luci has responded by falling for Soapy Sam. And his fling with celebrity when he defends lawyer-bashing police commander Bob Durden on a charge of murder-for-hire gives Rumpole a higher profile and even a few briefs of his own. Mostly, though, it's business as usual as Rumpole defends not murder cases-his defense of a religious zealot accused of strangling a lap dancer is the least interesting of these half-dozen tales-but accusations of pickpocketing, invasion of privacy, and burglary-cum-violation of the bathroom. Mortimer's seen no reason to expand his ritualistic view of the short mystery in which the accusers invariably turn out to be guiltier than the accused. Fortunately, the trimmings, from Claude Erskine-Brown's frenzy to confess the most minor indiscretions to his wife the judge to Soapy Sam's avowed desire to cover Luci with custard, are as savory as ever. Not by a long shot Rumpole's finest hour, but his many fans will share his wife's pleasure in the fact that he's come back at all.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142004869
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/30/2004
  • Series: Rumpole Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 983,687
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.66 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

John Mortimer is a playwright, novelist, and former practicing barrister who has written many film scripts as well as stage, radio, and television plays, the Rumpole plays, for which he received the British Academy Writer of the Year Award, and the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. He is the author of twelve collections of Rumpole stories and three acclaimed volumes of autobiography.

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Table of Contents

Rumpole and the Primrose Path 1
Rumpole and the New Year's Resolutions 38
Rumpole and the Scales of Justice 66
Rumpole and the Right to Privacy 101
Rumpole and the Vanishing Juror 138
Rumpole Redeemed 178
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2003

    Great Barrister Horace Rumpole collection

    Barrister Horace Rumpole suffered a near-fatal heart attack (see RUMPOLE RESTS HIS CASE) and convalescences in the Primrose Path Home while his colleagues mount a death watch and a competition to replace him. Bored, cranky, at war with much of the staff, and feeling like a prisoner with a life sentence, Rumpole learns that another patient fellow patient died under strange circumstances. Refusing to rest at the rest home, Rumpole escapes confinement and is back on the case trying to learn what happened to his rest home mate. <P>That is the first of five cleverly designed stories and one other well written but flawed tale that brilliantly return Rumpole back in London solving cases, obeying his wife Hilda, and entertaining his myriad of fans while he achieves all that. John Mortimer scores big time with this superb collection that ends with a toast the barrister¿s fans will join Hilda in hoping that Horace has more escapades next year. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009


    As usual John Mortimer's satirical view of the English courts are thoroughly amusing and well written. I find his books to be easy reading and a great way to unwind.

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