A few words about book's author
Martha Grimes is the bestselling author of eighteen Richard Jury mysteries and also the acclaimed fiction Foul Matter, Cold Flat Junction, Hotel Paradise, The End of the Pier, and The Train Now Departing.
No, Im not English, but nothing quickens my imagination more than a fog-bound moor, windy heath, river mist in an old fishing village, and the names of British pubs like The Stargazey, Martha Grimes has written, and its this quirk of hers that has made her one of the best loved modern practitioners of the venerable whodunit. All of the titles in Grimess bestselling Richard Jury series are taken from actual pubs, and all of them feature said pub in some fashion. I can imagine the end of British hope and glory, but not the end of the British pub, she explains. So, too, it is hard to imagine the end of these deft, witty mysteries, begun in 1981 with The Man with a Load of Mischief, featuring a lugubrious Scotland Yard superintendent (Jury) and his art-collecting sidekick (Melrose Plant). Grimes has a particular talent for combining heavy gloom with an unmistakable humor thats as subtle and dry as a soda cracker – a good thing, since the Jury casebook tends to be dark, twisted, and rather gruesome. But she always infuses her characters with human motivations and is careful to set up a chain of clues that ultimately discloses them. In addition, shes been known to thread in an unlikely theme here and there – NFL football, poetry references, animal rights, even hormone replacement therapy. Its clear that Grimes likes to stretch her legs a bit, bringing Jury and his eccentric friends Stateside for a few cases and occasionally foraying beyond the series with novellas, standalones, and some interconnected literary fiction featuring teenage heroines. No doubt these changes of pace help keep the authors skills sharp and honed and ensure for her a wider and more growing readership.
Good To Know
Unlike many mystery writers, Grimes does not outline her plots ahead of time or even profess to know where they are headed when she begins writing. I am not overly concerned with plot as such, she explains on her web site. Obviously, if you start with a chapter such as the one above and intend the story to proceed from it, you could write yourself into a corner. I always do. In The Case Has Altered, I didnt know until I was nearly finished with it who had killed these women or why. Grimess father was city solicitor of Pittsburgh, and her mother owned a hotel in western Maryland. As a girl, she spent half her time in Pittsburgh and the other half at her mothers hotel in a little town called Mountain Lake Park. Although her western Maryland-set series that began with The End of the Pier has earned its own fans, theres no denying that for most Grimes readers, its all about Jury. If she needed a reminder of this, she got one in the loads of hate mail she received for abandoning Richard Jury to write Pier. Grimes has taught creative writing at various colleges, including the small Maryland community school Montgomery College and the more prestigious Johns Hopkins University. Comparing the two in a Washington Post interview, the mordant Grimes noted of JHU, Not one pompous ass in the whole program ... The pompous asses are at Montgomery College.