In this Richard Jury adventure, Martha Grimes takes listeners 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.
It is his mystery writing-writing, amethyst-eyed friend, Polly Praed, who drags Plant and Jury to Ashdown Dean. The impatient Polly, having yanked open a call box in the pouring rain, is ill prepared for what lands at her feet. The now-deadly case is cause for calling in Scotland Yard.
©1985 Martha Grimes (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
Love fiction--classic to light, serious to comedic. Selective non-fiction. These days lots of mysteries (not too violent, please :-)
I am enjoying listening to the books of Martha Grimes which I read in paper form many years ago. With this book, she has shifted her tone a bit--there is less emphasis on the silliness of some of the characters (though that is there a bit) as she has crafted this mystery around a more serious social/ethical concern--animal abuse.
I think Grimes appropriately down-played the amusing characters (such as Aunt Agatha, Melose Plant's impossibly pompous and irritating relative) so as not to detract from what I presume was her intent to blend the usual good mystery with attention to animal needs and rights.
This book begins with pets mysteriously disappearing and dying, and one of the main characters is a young girl who has dedicated herself to trying to rescue abandoned or injured animals. Against this background, murder occurs in the oddest way--and is discovered by Polly Praed, who calls in Melrose Plant and their friend from Scotland Yard, Richard Jury... and the detecting process begins.
Does this mixture of a mystery for reading enjoyment mix well with commentary on a serious ethical concern? Well, yes and no. Yes, because she has worked the plot around it sufficiently well to have an interesting story, but maybe not totally because (as much as I genuinely believe in and support her message) it felt a little forced. I would have preferred her point to have been a bit more subtle. I hate to make any criticism of Martha Grimes--I so enjoy all she has written, so please don't let that keep you from reading this book. I would say that if her emphasis on the plight of animals was a little heavy-handed, her heart was in the right place. The message is important. The book is good and I quite recommend it.
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