A welcome reappearance: Superintendent Richard Jury of Scotland Yard

April 10, 2010 at 1:42 am (books, Mystery fiction, The British police procedural)

Patrick Anderson, veteran reviewer of crime fiction for the Washington Post, has written a delightful piece on the latest Richard Jury novel from the pen of Martha Grimes.

One of the first contemporary mysteries I read when I came to work at the library in 1982 was  The Man with a Load of Mischief, Martha Grimes’s first Richard Jury novel, which had been published the previous year. This was followed by The Old Fox Deceiv’d, which I found equally enjoyable.  Grimes had assembled a quirky, offbeat group of characters; it was fun to hang out with them and eavesdrop on their conversations. (The titles of the novels in this series all refer to the names of British pubs – or latterly, to wine bars and other varieties of hostelry.)

As the series progressed, however, some readers, myself included, lost interest. For me, at any rate, that interest came roaring back four years ago with The Old Wine Shades. Here was a novel with a cunning puzzle plot and an intriguing cast of characters. And that cast included a non-human player, a most important one, a most intelligent and irresistible one. This would be a small white dog named Mungo. You can just about make him out in the middle of  the book’s cover:

Dust followed Wine shades and was, IMHO, just as good. The plot involves Lamb House, the former residence of Henry James. And now we have the twenty-second entry in the series, The Black Cat.

My reserve just came in – What joy!

Here’s a profile of the author that appeared two years ago in the Washingtonian Magazine.

Martha Grimes and friend

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