I Am The Only Running Footman, by Martha Grimes, is book eight in a series that I eagerly read. The first seven books, beginning with The Man With a Load of Mischief, all rate five stars from me, so I am sad to report that this book is very flawed.
It is short, and since it has larger print than usual (no flaw), the 314 pages are substantially less than her usual stellar novels run. That is fine if the story sings, but it is oddly lurchy; did she really write this? What was her editor thinking? The ending is particularly perturbing, ill written and abrupt. Ms. Grimes adds in some of her traditional levity, but it doesn't save this novel.
My beloved Melrose Plant and Richard Jury seem sadly underdeveloped, but I am confident that the next in the series will return to its high standards, with wonderful main characters that we know and love. If you haven't read her books, don't be put off by this review; run and buy the first book, since I guarantee that the first seven are heaven.
Terra Hangen, author of Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts.
A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts: Stories to warm your heart and tips to simplify your holidays