The inimitable Scotland Yard Superintendent Richard Jury returns in another "literate, lyrical, funny, funky, discursive, bizarre" (The Washington Post) mystery, now with a tip of the derby to Alfred Hitchcock’s famous movie Vertigo.
Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the 42nd floor of an office building in London’s financial district. Despite inconclusive evidence, Tom is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered 17 years ago. The inspector in charge of the case was sure Tess’ 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 country house in Devon where Tess died. The girl had been a guest at a party Tess was giving for six children. Jury seeks out the five surviving party guests, who are now adults, hoping they can shed light on this bizarre coincidence.
Meanwhile, an elegantly dressed woman falls to her death from the tower of a cottage near the pub where Jury and his cronies are dining one night. Then the dead woman’s estranged husband is killed as well. 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.
Witty, well-written, with literary references from Thomas Hardy to Yeats, Vertigo 42 is a pitch perfect, "pause-resisting" novel from a mystery writer at the top of her game.
©2014 Martha Grimes. All rights reserved. (P)2014 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
A huge fan of the "armchair mystery" genre of Agatha Christie (intelligent plots and puzzles requiring thought sans gratuitous violence), I thoroughly enjoyed Jury's crime solving methodology. While not as much of a fan of the narrator's scope of characterization (why did the sergeant's voice have to be created with the narrator seemingly holding his nose closed?), the clues were all there (fair play a la Christie), and it was just a race to see whether the reader could put the puzzle together before Jury. Jury was a little biased in favor of his personal emotional instincts (Poirot would never do that), but nonetheless, it was a good puzzle and very satisfying mystery. I look forward to reading more of Grimes, and hope there are just as many interwoven literary references, as it makes it all the more enjoyable!
Absolutely. The author always weaves an interesting story, and this time it has a great twist, in an extended reference to a classic movie.
I have not listened to others, but I certainly will. His presentation enhanced the story. I kept forgetting that the same person was reading all the different characters' lines!
Say something about yourself!
I was pleased to find this to be vintage - perhaps even better than - some of the early Jury books. Great story keeps you on your toes until the end.
But I always do. Have followed Martha Grimes her entire career. Wish Jury could find peace. Some people never do.
Anglophile. Prefer only British fiction and mysteries. Good translations of Italian, too.
As a longtime Martha Grimes fan, I was not disappointed. Unlike some, this one didn't have Jury in a love affair ... but every other element was present.
Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. The odd couple of an engaging British mystery series
Yes, all the ones he narrates of Martha Grimes. He is good.
Yes, but I tried to pace myself as I know there will not be another one for some time.
A most enjoyable read. The one brief appearance of Agatha, Melrose's not blood related aunt, was limited and I didn't mind this. Would have like more of the antiques dealer. All in all, however, a wonderful book.
It's not that this was a particularly complex mystery, but it did seem a little too convoluted in how it was rolled out in the book. Good characters, as always, and probably a good fit for continuing Martha Grimes fans.
Have you ever watched kid friendly TV? Imagine a really great script with a really intriguing story background that is being role played in a child friendly version - that's what this story feels like. It's so tame and friendly when it could have really been a savage biting thriller. But it wasn't. I must stress that. It starts slow and never picks up. It's like a spluttering, dying car. Have you ever seen an episode of Midsomer Murders on TV? It reminds me of that - basically good stories TAMED down. Why? I don't know. What a waste of a great background plot. I really love the premise of the background story, it's so intriguing but I do feel like it wasn't explored or exploited enough. It could have been so much more in depth and twisted, in the end it was just 'meh' who cares.
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