At the Man with a Load of Mischief, they found the dead body stuck in a keg of beer. At the Jack and Hammer, another body was stuck out on the beam of the pub's sign, replacing the mechanical man who kept the time. Two pubs. Two murders. One Scotland Yard inspector called in to help.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury arrives in Long Piddleton and finds everyone in the postcard village looking outside of town for the killer - except for one Melrose Plant. A keen observer of human nature, he points Jury in the right direction: into the darkest parts of his neighbors' hearts.
©2013 Martha Grimes (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I was excited about revisiting - in audio - a series of books which I have so enjoyed over the years. In one way, I was not disappointed, because the performance by Steve West is quite good, and all the quirky characters I remembered are still there. The aristocrats, the wannabes, the shop-and-bar keepers.
But, on the whole, these characters have not aged particularly well. Although the "pub" title trademark remains interesting, "Aunt Agatha" and "Melrose Plant" now seem more the copies from older British mysteries that they actually are. There's a dated, self-conscious feeling here that is not as apparent in the original, classic series of Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Marjorie Allingham and, to some extent, Agatha Christie.
Is it possible that American authors really can't quite capture the traditional, cozy British who-done-it? Maybe - and I think I'd rather just remember the Jury/Plant series as something I really liked 25 years ago. No need to revisit.
I'd been intermittently checking Audible for Martha Grimes titles, and finally they're here (or else I missed them when they first showed up...)
For someone who loves Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers, this is the next best thing. It's got great, well-defined main characters with no frills and not too much pop psychology, it's got great plots and atmosphere (yeah, so what if the author is American and these are British village murders?) and a good sense of humor. So what's not to love?
I hope more titles come up. This is a great series.
I love reading anything by Martha Grimes, so when Audible began to carry the series, I started back with the first Inspector Richard Jury novel. Grimes writes wonderful characters. Jury is a sensitive, intelligent person who carries those traits into his job. In this book, we are introduced to his fellow policemen and to a group of residents in a small village that will be featured in future books. Melrose Plant, the epitome of an idle English lord but with a great wry sense of humor. Agatha, Plant's snobbish American aunt who strives to be more British than her neighbors. Shop and pub owners add more depth and wit to this cast of characters. Not only are the characters great, but Grimes writes a good mystery that keeps the reader engaged to the end. She is also marvelous at portraying children and adults' reactions to them.
This book is so good that I did not think it could get better, but narrator, Steve West, brought more life and depth to the book. Both his male and female voices are marvelous. I don't think I've listened to a better narrator.
Audible has the second book in the series and is issuing the third in a few weeks. I hope they keep coming!
Not a writer, a writer wannabe, editor, lit maj, or pretend literary critic. Just an avid reader/listener. My ratings are opinion only.
Waited and waited for it to come to audible, only her last was on audible and without having read the series people might not really have developed the fondness for Jury and Plant that develops when reading a series.
The books are witty and dry without being too graphic. Not as cutesy or silly as cozy mysteries tend to be; the gimmick is the inns so it doesn't seem as childish or staged.
These are not modern mysteries with psycho serial killers and ritual murders, just plain old fashioned murder with a little wit and sadness.
The only flaw is that after waiting soooo long, they picked the worst narrator. The dry humor is still there but he is so annoying it detracts from the overall enjoyment of the story.
Yes, at first I was confused, 2 men died in two seperate places
In the beginning yes, until I figured out who did the murders. However I really could not figure out why.
I never listened to Steve West before but, after this novel I did order more Martha Grimes novels.
His portrayal of Lady Agatha Ardry, was exquisite. Like Jury you wanted to strangle her for her constant interference .
When Jury interaction with the brother and sister, James and James. Another Jury interveiwed Ruby Judd's family their cold and aloof treatment of their daughter
I wanted to like this book very much, and enjoyed it somewhat....thud. The English characters are eccentric and there is an underlying mischief and humor. The first two murders are colorful and unique. There is a lot of fun in this book.
My issue is that the solution to the mystery is something like an Agatha Christie plot. It is very, very far-fetched and has some of that smugness about a highly doubtful complex sequence with dead bodies that defies most logic. You may suspect the killer, but you will never understand the key detail that keeps the villain shielded...until the Sherlock Holmes-like final reveal. A reader gets the feeling that the characters' daily interactions are the thing and that the underlying motive of the mass killer is somewhat secondary. For that I give 4 stars...maybe 3 1/2. The narration is marvelous.
This series is one of my absolute favorites. I've read them (in paperback) many times. The best part of listening to the book was, as is the case for all audiobooks, being able to take the characters along with me. Also grateful that the voices did not conflict too badly with what I've been hearing in my head for years.
The first meeting of all the regular characters.
As mentioned earlier, his voices didn't conflict with my preconceptions
I have been waiting for ages to see this series come to Audible. The latter books in the series became a bit tedious, but these early entries have everything one could want. Richard Jury and Melrose Plant and all the rest of the characters have become like old friends. Please, Audible, bring them all!
Love them all
Read all the books have been waiting for the audio books forever. Love Jury & his crazy Brits
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