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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 Martha Grimes (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Another solidly good mystery in the series

Martha Grimes again takes us into the world of Richard Jury, Scotland Yard inspector, and his friend, Melrose Plant (who gave up his titled position to become an ordinary citizen--much to the frustration of his social climbing Aunt Agatha). This time, the story concerns the murder of a woman strangled by her own scarf , committed near a pub in fashionable Mayfair--"I Am The Only Running Footman". Very quickly, Brian Macalvie, head of the Devon Constabulary, connects this murder with a previous similar one committed in Devon. Thus they begin working together to solve the murders, aided by Jury's adorably hypochondriacal Sgt Wiggins (who, in addition to bringing in a comic element, is also rather smart). Plant is an unofficial excellent crime solver, so he is always quietly in on the background of the investigations.

These books are probably more fully interesting if the reader has read the series in order--to have a deeper sense of the connections among the people who are the regular friends and co-workers of Jury and Plant, and understand their longtime connections to each other. But each also stands alone rather well. The good parts about this book are that it moves forward in ways that make sense, as far as deciding upon suspects, and the reader knows pretty much what they know. And also, the chemistry among the usual cast of Long Piddleton/London folks is, as always, the part that keeps these from being just unremarkable little mysteries. Jury's friends in London are more featured this book and they entertain as always. However Plant is staying in another pub, "The Mortal Man," which also leads to some comic relief.

The difficulty with this book is that the author has brought in the usual folks, and also a few other characters who are not regulars in her books, in ways that lead the reader to believe a few of the latter play an important role in the whole thing--only to have them left hanging at the end (no pun intended, since this is a mystery :-) But she really does not tie things up terribly well--and one wonders what the purpose of certain characters was--except to pad out the story and make it the requisite 220 pages? That observation is strengthened by a sudden and rather weak ending. Steve West's narration is good, but the part he reads best is the delightfully funny Sgt. Wiggins. In the end, it is hard to be upset, since as always, Grimes writes consistently good mysteries that are fun to read or listen to.



8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Review of last 3 books.

What did you like best about I Am the Only Running Footman? What did you like least?

Ms. Grimes books are definitely growing on me, and I think more than anything the narrator really adds to the stories. I like the clever repartee and intelligent plot lines. What I am beginning to no like about this books, especially after 3 consecutive examples of this, is the dramatic endings, with the same outcome, It is almost as if she can't think of a way to end her books, or she feels the need to end with a twist. It is starting to get old, and a little predictable.

What was one of the most memorable moments of I Am the Only Running Footman?

In all of her books, I love how the stories are brought together,and of course my favorite character is Agatha...love her, love her, love her.

Which character – as performed by Steve West – was your favorite?

Steve West is an excellent narrator, and as each story gets better so does his narration.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Not sure, I'm not one for books turned to movies.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jan
  • MKE
  • 04-28-18

Unusually odd

law-enforcement, murder-investigation, british, friendship, humor

Extremely convoluted and yet fractured. All of the Jury/Wiggins/Plant books are more than a bit odd, but we read and reread them anyway. Me, I like to follow the freeing of Mrs Wasserman and the antics of Carol Ann of the outrageous lies.
Steve West magnifies the drollery with his sardonic narration.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A disappointing effort

Would you try another book from Martha Grimes and/or Steve West?

Even Steve West's excellent narration could not save this book for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the previous books in the Richard Jury series, and hope this was an aberration. With great reluctance I have returned it.

What could Martha Grimes have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I felt the book was shamelessly padded with irrelevant dialog and endless vignettes that added nothing to the plot, however elegantly written and performed. Martha Grimes and her editor clearly lost their way with this volume.

Which character – as performed by Steve West – was your favorite?

Hands down, Steve West's best characterizations are of Aunt Agatha and Sergeant Wiggins -- brilliant!

Did I Am the Only Running Footman inspire you to do anything?

I feel it a sad commentary on this book that I was inspired only to return it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Loved it until the end.

With just a little more information at the end it could have been so much better.