I have enjoyed some of Grimes' books, mainly The Anodyne Necklace. This wasn't one of her better ones.
Each mystery is partly set in a pub and the name of the pub gives her the quaint titles of the books. Grimes is American but has a fascination with titled English people, all of whom she makes extremely wealthy and boring. As in they do nothing all day but gossip. Her police detective is called Richard Jury and he meets a collection of the most boring people in England at the start of this tale, then he goes to Baltimore on holiday to look into a matter, and meets the most boring people in Baltimore. There is also an irritating cabbie and while there is the prospect of interest in a few tramps, we see very little of their lives.
As always the American author makes a major mistake about England. I don't know why her editors don't pick it up if she can't. Normally she tells us there are grey foxes in England - this is an American animal. In this book she tells us -
"Only if Charles, his son William and his other son Harry, die or abdicate, only then does Andrew come into the picture. And after Andrew, then his two sons, in order of age." I'm am sure Prince Andrew's daughters Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice would be surprised to hear this news.
Part of the story looks at a possibly forged new EA Poe manuscript. Even if you liked Poe, which I don't, this would be a very boring read.
Try a few of Grimes's by all means but an American who has done rather better at writing about England is Elizabeth George, with the Inspector Lynley series.
on 14 June 2014
I normally enjoy Martha Grimes books but this one is sooo boring. It is a very slight story; the edition I read was 502 pages long, but any decent editor would have reduced this by at least 50%, by removing lots of the 'quotes' from books written by characters (these served only to lengthen the story rather than adding anything to the plot) & by getting rid of the lecture on primogeniture as it applies to, among others, the British royal family - this was wrong, anyway, as Prince Andrew actually has two daughters, rather than sons.
Please read other Martha Grimes books - preferably in chronological order, as there are always references to previous books - but definitely give this one a miss!!
on 10 June 2014
I have enjoyed all the previous Martha Grimes novels, but this one is just tedious. Most of the characters seem to be novelists and we are treated to huge chunks of boring 'novels within novels' - obviously to make a very slight story appear longer (the edition I read was 500 pages long, which judicious editing could have greatly reduced). I love Richard Jury, but would recommend any earlier story, rather than this one.
on 21 August 2012
You really have to go with the flow to enjoy this book. Half the cast seem to be titled and the other half seem to be writing books. If you can get on with these characters, the book is occasionally very amusing.
There are a couple of policemen but they do not intrude upon the plot (such as it is) very much.
Three of the characters fly to Baltimore for purposes of the plot, and there is quite a lot of local colour, which is well done.
The main plot is quite slender, and just about hangs together.
A good book for holiday reading.