But the mystery plot of Misbehaves, and its shape as a novel, leave much to be desired. Misbehaves only makes sense if it is set in a world in which every single person other than Rumpole himself (and possibly She Who Must Be Obeyed, his wife) is utterly incompetent, and most of them are also completely corrupt.
Back when Rumpole's adventures were of novelette-length, the plots were streamlined and the time sequence condensed; there wasn't time or space to wonder why the police in Rumpole's world were either incompetent or corrupt (since they invariably arrested innocent people and then tried to frame them). And the judges and prosecutors were generally seen as unpleasant individuals, people with perhaps differing views on the likelihood of innocence than Rumpole himself, but not as fools or bastards. But, now, in the era of Rumpole novels, even the fellow barristers in Rumpole's chambers are nasty, and he alone upholds the standards and ideals of British Jurisprudence.
In the course of Rumpole Misbehaves, Rumpole attempts to defend both a young Timson (scion of the large and larcenous South London family that has kept him in work for his entire career) from an ASBO -- a particularly Orwellian invention of the panopticon that is modern Britain -- and a young man from a charge of murder.
The ABSO plot does tie in to the murder eventually, but it's mainly there for Mortimer to rail against the very idea of an "anti-social behavior order." I suspect he's stacking the deck horribly in his favor, but I'm inclined to dislike the idea to begin with, so I went along with him.
Luckily, Rumpole's voice is still pleasant, and She Who Must Be Obeyed is not nearly as terrible as she used to be. Rumpole Misbehaves is a fine waste of a few hours, but it's not meant to be read with any critical facility engaged. If I'm capable of as much when I'm eighty-four, I'll be more than happy.