Inspector Jury / Martha Grimes


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Martha Grimes & Inspector Jury Mysteries


grimesMartha Grimes (born May 2, 1931) is an American writer of detective fiction.

Martha Grimes was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to William Dermit Grimes, Pittsburgh’s city solicitor, and June Dunnington, who owned the Mountain Lake Hotel in Western Maryland where Martha and her brother spent much of their childhood. Grimes earned her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Maryland. She has taught at the University of Iowa, Frostburg State University, and Montgomery College.

Grimes is best known for her series of novels featuring Richard Jury, an inspector with Scotland Yard, and his friend Melrose Plant, a British aristocrat who has given up his titles. Each of the Jury mysteries is named after a pub. In 1983, Grimes received the Nero Wolfe Award for best mystery of the year for ‘The Anodyne Necklace. Though sometimes considered to be ‘cozy’ mysteries, Grimes talent for characterization and complex plots has made her a favourite of mystery fans from all sides of the genre.

She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Edited from Wikipedia, Martha Grimes.

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More on Inspector Jury

Note: Many serious mystery critics love to hate the Inspector Jury mysteries! The problem seems to arise from the humorous side of these novels, which does get a little out of hand at times! Still, these are always delightfully entertaining mysteries that also have a serious side, taking on many social issues, including questions of class, violence, poverty, flaws in the criminal justice system, and even animal rights. If you are not looking for some light reading, it is probably better to give them a pass – but if you feel a bit down they are great medicine! Below is one of the negative reviews, and it does make a few good points (especially regarding the need to read this series in order), but it completely misses all those compelling reasons why this series has so many fans! I actually do not even consider these ‘cozies’ – and have real problems with that horrible word! A good mystery simply does not have to be steeped in gloom and doom to be appreciated – so give us all a break!

A typical bad Grimes review!


Inspector Richard Jury Novels


Grimes 1The Man With a Load of Mischief (1981)

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Best Review
****

Note: Welcome to Long Piddleton!

Long Piddleton had always been wary of newcomers. But the quiet town was stunned when the first stranger was found dead, upended in a butt of ale in the cellar of the Men with a Load of Mischief. Then the second body appeared, swinging in place of the mechanical man above the door of the Jack and Hammer.

Suddenly Long Piddleton had good reason to be wary of everyone! Its cozy pubs and inns with their polished pewter and blazing hearths had become scenes of the most bizarre crimes. Who were the victims? And who was the murderer? A stranger? A maniac? Or the disarmingly friendly man next door?

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Grimes 2 The Old Fox Deceiv’d (1982)

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Best Review
****

Note: A bizarre murder on the Yorkshire coast!

It is a chilly and foggy Twelfth Night, wild with North Sea wind, when a bizarre murder disturbs the outward piece of Rackmoor, a tiny Yorkshire fishing village with a past that proves a tangled maze of unrequited loves, unrevenged wrongs, and even undiscovered murders.

Inspector Jury finds no easy answers in his investigation – not even the identity of the victim, a beautiful young woman. Was she Gemma Temple, an impostor, or was she really Dillys March, Colonel Titus Crael’s long-lost ward, returning after eight years to the Colonel’s country seat and to a share of his fortune? And who was her murderer?

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Grimes 3 The Anodyne Necklace (1983)

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Best Review
*****

Note: A baffling murder & a treasure map!

A spinster whose passion was bird-watching, a dotty peer who pinched pennies, and a baffling murder made the tiny village of Littlebourne a most extraordinary place. And a severed finger made a ghastly clue in the killing that led local constables from a corpse to a boggy footpath to a beautiful lady’s mansion.

But Richard Jury refused, preferring to take the less traveled route to a slightly disreputable pub, the Anodyne Necklace. There, drinks all around loosened enough tongues to link a London mugging with the Littlebourne murder and a treasure map that would chart the way to yet another chilling crime.

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dirty duck 2 The Dirty Duck (1984)

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Best Review
****

Note: A Shakespearian murder!

Superintendent Richard Jury has been wrong before. But when stating that “nothing ever happens in Stratford,” he never imagined just how wrong he could be. Besides the stage murders committed nightly at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, a real one has been performed not far from a popular pub known as The Dirty Duck.

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jerusalem inn Jerusalem Inn (1984)

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Best Review
****

Note: A mysterious Christmas!

From the rough but colorful pub that provides the book’s title, to the snowboard Gothic estate nearby, the chilly English landscape has never held more atmosphere – or thwarted romance. And Jury will never have a more mysterious Christmas.

Five Days Before Christmas: On his way to a brief holiday (he thinks) Jury meets a woman he could fall in love with. He meets her in a snow-covered graveyard – not, he thinks, the best way to begin an attachment.

Four Days Before Christmas: Jury meets Father Rourke, who draws for him the semiotic square – “a structure that might simplify thought,” says the priest, but Jury’s thoughts need more than symbols.

Three Days Before Christmas: Melrose Plant, Jury’s aristocratic and unofficial assistant, arrives at Spinney Abbey, now home to a well-known critic. Among the assembled snowbound guests he meets – Lady Assington, Beatrice Sleight, and the painter Edward Parmenger. When they all assemble in the dining room, Lady Assington announces, “I think we should have a murder.”

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poor struggler Help the Poor Struggler (1985)

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Best Review
*****

Note: Introducing Brian Macalvie

Around bleak Dartmoor, where the Hound of the Baskervilles once bayed, three children have been brutally murdered. Now Richard Jury of Scotland Yard joins forces with a hot-tempered local constable named Brian Macalvie to track down the killer. The trail begins at a desolate pub, Help the Poor Struggler. It leads straight to the estate of Lady Jessica, a ten-year-old orphaned heiress who lives with her mysterious uncle and ever-changing series of governesses. And as suspense spreads across the forbidding landscape, an old injustice returns to haunt Macalvie…with clues that link a murder in the distant past with a killing yet to come.

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deer leap The Deer Leap (1985)

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Best Review
****

Note: A case for the SPCA?

Martha Grimes takes us to Ashdown Dean, a little English village where animals are dying in a series of seemingly innocuous accidents. While the puzzling deaths of village pets may raise some idle gossip over a pint or two at the Deer Leap, the village pub, this hardly seems a case for Superintendent Jury of Scotland yard. Nor does it seem much of a challenge for the combined deductive powers of Jury and Melrose, the affable former Earl of Caverness.

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runnung footman I Am the Only Running Footman (1986)

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Best Review
*****

Note: The Porphyria killings

In a rainy ditch in a Devon wood, a hitchhiker is found dead. Almost a year later, on another rainy night, another murder; this time, however, the victim is found just outside a pub called I Am the Only Running Footman, near Berkeley Square in London’s fashionable Mayfair District. Devon policeman Brian Macalvie is convinced that the two murders are connected. And thus, in his eighth case, Richard Jury is drawn into the so-called Porphyria killings. A particularly elusive pair of murders. From the streets of London to the village of Somers Abbas, Jury and Macalvie are joined by the stolid if hypochondriac Sergeant Wiggins and the reluctant Melrose Plant. They meet in another pub, the Mortal Man, and, amidst the clatter and cry of the Warboys family, they ponder a labyrinthine set of clues.

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bells bladeboneThe Five Bells and Bladebone (1987)

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Best Review
****

Note: The murder desk?

When a dismembered corpse is found in the compartments of an antique writing bureau, Marshall Trueblood, recipient of the precious piece of furniture, is the first to protest: “I bought the desk, not the body, send it back.” Who would want to kill Simon Lean, the greedy nephew of the wealthy Lady Summerston?

Leave it to Superintendent Richard Jury of Scotland Yard to suggest a connection to the murder of a brassy Limehouse lady named Sadie Driver, found dead near Wapping Old Stairs…if that stone-cold body on the slipway is really Sadie. Not even her brother, Tommy, on a visit from Gravesend, can swear to it.

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old silentThe Old Silent (1989)

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Best Review
****

Note: A triple murder in Yorkshire!

In the tenth murderous case for Richard Jury, the New Scotland Yard superintendent witnesses a killing in a West Yorkshire inn called the Old Silent, while his highborn, amateur colleague, Melrose Plant wishes to he could perform one as he drives his impossible Aunt Agatha to the Old Swan in Harrogate.

Caught up in a triple murder, Jury would go to any lengths to help Nell Healey, the lovely widow of one of the victims. But Nell Healey remains silent as the Yorkshire moors, quiet as the grave, while the scope of the mystery widens.

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Old ContemptiblesThe Old Contemptibles (1991)

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Best Review
****

Note: Jury becomes the primary suspect!

Following a passionate and troubled love affair with a pretty widow named Jane Holdsworth, Jury finds himself, unaccountably, a suspect in a murder investigation. Detained in London, Jury sends his friend Melrose Plant, former Earl of Caverness, to the Holdsworth family’s Lake District home to pose as an eccentric librarian. Plant discovers that his catalogue cards contain less data on Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey than they do on tantalizing questions about the Holdsworths: What happened to Crabbe Holdsworth’s first wife? What happened to his son, Graham? What happened to the cook, Annie?

And what might happen to the two children, favorites of rich old Adam Holdworth, who prefers the ambience of a swank retirement home, Castle Howe, where he and the elegant Lady Cray can drive the staff crazy? Jury and Sergeant Wiggins finally join Melrose at the Old Contemptibles pub, where they arrive at a solution that Jury detests, for no matter what he does, innocence will suffer.

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horse grimesThe Horse You Came In On (1993)

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Best Review
***

Note: A murder in America!

The murder is in America, but the call goes out to Scotland Yard superintendent Richard Jury. Accompanied by his aristocratic friend Melrose Plant and by Sargeant Wiggins, Jury arrives in Baltimore, Maryland, home of zealous Orioles fans, mouth-watering crabs, and Edgar Allen Poe. In his efforts to solve the case, Jury rubs elbows with a delicious and suspicious cast of characters, embarking on a trail that leads to a unique tavern called The Horse You Came In On.

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rainbows end Rainbow’s End (1995)

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Best Review
***

Note: A trip to Santa Fe!

When three women die of “natural causes” in London and the West Country, there appears to be no connection – or reason to suspect foul play. But Scotland Yard Superintendent Richard Jury has other ideas, and before long he’s following his keen police instincts all the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

There, in the company of a brooding thirteen-year-old girl and her pet coyote, he mingles with an odd assortment of characters and tangles with a twisted plot that stretches from England to the American Southwest. And while his good friend Melrose Plant pursues inquires in London, Jury delves deeper into the more baffling elements of the case, discovering firsthand what the guide books don’t tell you; that the Land of Enchantment is also a landscape ripe with tragedy, treachery, and murder.

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case alteredThe Case Has Altered (1997)

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Best Review
****

Note: Two murders in the Lincolnshire fenlands!

The sun, smoking behind a haze of cloud, threw off a light of burnished pewter. Mysteriously lit, it was as if the watery, colorless land refused drabness, stood determinedly against dimishment. This is a landscape that can easily deceive, a landscape that volunteers nothing, as if to say, You’re on your own, mate – much like the habitues of the only pub for miles around called The Case Has Altered.

The Lincolnshire fenlands are the right setting for Richard Jury’s latest case, a mystifying double murder. The body of one woman is found on the wash; another woman lies floating in a canal in Windy Fen. Both women are connected with Fengate: Dorcas Reese, a servant; Verna Dunn, the ex-wife of the owner, Max Owen, a man with a passion for antiques. So when the principal suspect turns out to be Jenny Kennington, a woman Jury has long loved, he decides he needs someone inside Fengate, someone who can impersonate an antiques expert…

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stargazeyThe Stargazey (1998)

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Best Review
***

Note: A strange Saturday night!

Saturday night. It was not a night to be spending alone, riding a bus. When he was a teenager at the comprehensive, Saturday night without a girl, without a date, without at least your mates to raise hell with, Saturday night alone would have been shameful. One wouldn’t want to be seen alone on a Saturday night…. Who are you kidding? That was never your life, Jury, not yours.

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lamorna winkThe Lamorna Wink (1999)

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Best Review
*****

Note: A tenuous connection?

Five years ago in Cornwall, two children disappeared from their beds and were found mysteriously drowned. When a woman is murdered nearby, the police look for a connection between the deaths. Melrose Plant, renting the children’s empty home is caught up in the inquiry, and soon Richard Jury arrives to investigate.

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blue lastThe Blue Last (2001)

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Best Review
*****

Note: Jury takes a trip down memory lane!

In The Blue Last, Richard Jury finally faces the last thing in the world he wants to deal with – the war that killed his mother, his father, his childhood. Mickey Haggerty, a DCI with the London City police, has asked for Jury’s help. Two skeletons have been unearthed in the City during the excavation of London’s last bombsite, where once a pub stood called the The Blue Last. Mickey believes that a child who survived the bombing has been posing for over fifty years as a child who didn’t. The grandchild of brewery magnet Oliver Tyndale supposedly survived that December 1940 bombing . . . but did she? Mickey also has a murder to solve. Simon Croft, prosperous City financial broker, and son of the one-time owner of The Blue Last is found shot to death in his Thames-side house. But the book he was writing about London during the German blitzkrieg has disappeared.

Jury wants to get eyes and ears into Tynedale Lodge, and looks to his friend, Melrose Plant, to play the role. Reluctantly, Plant plays it, accompanied on his rounds of the Lodge gardens by nine-year-old Gemma Trim, orphan and ward of Oliver Tynedale; and Benny Keagan, a resourceful twelve-year-old orphaned delivery boy.

And Richard Jury may not make it out alive.

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grave maurice The Grave Maurice (2002)

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Best Review
****

Note: The search for Nell Ryder!

“Chew on this,” says Melrose Plant to Richard Jury, who’s in the hospital being driven crazy by Hannibal, a nurse who likes to speculate on his chances for survival. Jury could use a good story, preferably one not ending with his own demise.

Plant tells Jury of something he overheard in The Grave Maurice, a pub near the hospital. A woman told an intriguing story about a girl named Nell Ryder, granddaughter to the owner of the Ryder Stud Farm in Cambridgeshire, who went missing more than a year before and has never been found. What is especially interesting to Plant is that Nell is also the daughter of Jury’s surgeon.

But Nell’s disappearance isn’t the only mystery at the Ryder farm. A woman has been found dead on the track – a woman who was a stranger even to the Ryders. But not to Plant. She’s the woman he saw in The Grave Maurice. Together with Jury, Nell’s family, and the Cambridgeshire police, Plant embarks on a search to find Nell and bring her home. But is there more to their mission than just restoring a fifteen-year-old girl to her family?

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winds changeThe Winds of Change (2004)

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Best Review
****

Note: A dark case!

Richard Jury embarks on the darkest investigation of his career when the dead body of a young London girl leads to the cold case of a missing girl in Launceston – an unsolved mystery that has haunted Police Officer Brian Macalvie for years.

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old wine shades The Old Wine Shades (2006)

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Best Review
***

Note: A pub story!

“The dog came back.”
“This is a joke, right?”
“No, it isn’t. . . . So do you want to hear the rest of it?” Dumbly, Jury nodded.

The rest of it is told by Harry Johnson, a stranger who sits down next to Richard Jury as he’s drinking in a London pub called the Old Wine Shades. Over three successive nights Harry spins this complicated story about a good friend of his whose wife and son (and dog) disappeared one day as they were viewing property in Surrey. They’ve been missing for nine months – no trace, no clue, no lead as to what happened.

He’s a fascinating bloke, this Harry Johnson – rich, handsome, unattached, and brainy about the esoteric subject of quantum mechanics, a field in which the vanished woman’s husband, Hugh Gault, excels: He’s an authority on string theory, which has some pretty funny notions about the nature of reality.

Jury wonders, Is Harry Johnson winding him up? Or did it really happen? The dog did come back – but how? And from where? And when Jury investigates, all seems to be just as Harry described it. Until they find the body.

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dust grimes Dust (2007)

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Best Review
***

Note: A question for Henry James?

A young friend pulls Scotland Yard’s Richard Jury into the life – and death – of a wealthy bachelor…

The once-charismatic Billy Maples was last seen in a club named Dust, before his murder in a trendy London hotel. Proving as inscrutable and challenging to Jury as the case is the beautiful chief inspecting officer…

Before his death, Maples was a patron of London’s finest art galleries and caretaker of author Henry James’s house in Rye. It’s there where Jury installs Melrose Plant, who takes his job to heart, as Jury closes in on the dark secrets behind Maples’s friends and family…

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black cat The Black Cat (2010)

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Best Review
***

Note: A silent witness!

Richard Jury is still dealing with the guilt of the accident that sent Lu Aquilar into a coma. But then he gets assigned the case of a beautiful woman who was murdered on the grounds of a pub called The Black Cat. And the only witness is a black cat. The woman is unidentifiable – but Jury is going to see that the person responsible is known to all…

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vertigo Vertigo 42 (2014)

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Good Mystery Review
***

Note: A pub on the 42nd floor?

The inimitable Richard Jury returns in the latest of this bestselling mystery series: “Martha Grimes has written a whodunit with terrific characters and a grand plot mixed with her unique droll wit. Vertigo 42 is one smart mystery!” (Susan Isaacs, bestselling author of Goldberg Variations)

Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the forty-second floor of an office building in London’s financial district. Despite inconclusive evidence, Tom is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered seventeen years ago. The inspector in charge of the case was sure Tess’s death was accidental – a direct result of vertigo – but the official police inquiry is still an open verdict and Jury agrees to re-examine the case.

Jury learns that a nine-year-old girl fell to her death five years before Tess at the same place in Devon where Tess died, at a small house party. Jury seeks out the five surviving party guests, who are now adults, hoping they can shed light on this bizarre coincidence. Ultimately, four deaths – two in the past, two that occur on the pages of this intricate, compelling novel – keep Richard Jury and his sidekick Sergeant Wiggins running from their homes in Islington to the countryside in Devon and to London as they try to figure out if the deaths were accidental or not. And, if they are connected.

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Other Martha Grimes

Andi Oliver Series
Biting the Moon (1999)  Amazon   Amazon.ca
Dakota ( 2008)  Amazon   Amazon.ca

Maud Chadwick
The End of the Pier (1993) Amazon   Amazon.ca

Emma Graham series
Hotel Paradise (1996)  Amazon   Amazon.ca
Cold Flat Junction (2000)  Amazon   Amazon.ca
Belle Ruin (2005)  Amazon   Amazon.ca
Fadeaway Girl (2011)  Amazon   Amazon.ca

Other Titles
Send Bygraves (1990) – a dramatic mystery poem  Amazon   Amazon.ca
The Train Now Departing (2000) – two novellas  Amazon   Amazon.ca
Foul Matter (2003) – Non-series Novel  Amazon   Amazon.ca
The Way of All Fish (2014) – Sequel to Foul Matter  Amazon  Amazon.ca


Complete Martha Grimes Bibliography


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