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Mary, Mary Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1994

3.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
Book 10 of 13 in the Matthew Hope Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Three young girls are unearthed in the backyard of eccentric gardener Mary Barton in attorney Matthew Hope's 10th outing. Mystery Guild main selection in cloth.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Did retired schoolteacher Mary Barton go on a three-day killing spree, murdering and mutilating three young girls and then burying them in her garden in the dead of night? That's the charge that Florida attorney Matthew Hope needs to disprove in this swift but talking and watery legal procedural, tenth in the series (Goldilocks, 1977, etc.). The evidence against Mary is mostly eyewitness, but it seems overwhelming: Several solid citizens claim they saw her with the victims (found when a telephone repairman dug up her garden); a dry-cleaner says that she dropped off a bloodstained dress right after the killings; and her next-door neighbor swears she watched from a window as Mary placed a body in a grave. On the other hand, the Englishwoman paying for Mary's defense--in gratitude for Mary's kindnesses when teaching her--insists that the accused is a saint; and Matt believes that she's innocent. So the lawyer sets out to make his case, mostly by refuting the credibility and reports of the eyewitnesses in courtroom Q&As that eat up the lion's share of the narrative. That's okay, since McBain's dialogue snaps at quark speed and he knows his way around a courtroom--but it's of little impact, because the surprise hook that twists the case around pops up only in two paragraphs before the final pages, when the story careens into Psycho-drama: The entire courtroom development is salted away as red herring. Throughout, shading and bulk are added by extra-case doings, including an affair between Matt and an A.D.A.; background detail on minor, always sharply etched characters (particularly Matt's p.i.-assistants); and musings about Floridian ways. Terrific courtroom patter, but by case's end most readers will declare a mistrial. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446600547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446600545
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,595,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love all the kindle books, I read nightly and enjoy a quick escape. Thank you for getting me back into books! I sent a kindle to my young granddaughter and she is now reading more then ever and improving at school as well!
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Being as I have read a lot of the Ed McBain 87th Precinct novels I was expecting more like that than this character so I was terribly disappointed. Parts of it was interesting but the further it went through the trial of Mary the more bored I got with it and ended up scrolling through some of the chapters which were way too long for me. By the time the supposed surprised finish came I really didn't care anymore. I am hoping the other Matthew Hope character Kindle book I bought at the same time is better than this one.
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Good main character development and interesting side development with character's family that might have been started in another book? I liked it. Any book that holds my attention in that I can't wait to see what happens next is a keeper!
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I like to read something easy before I turn out t he light. The book needs to hold my attention, but not so much that I can't put it down. It was an I.interesting story line and I liked the characters.
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I enjoy Mr. McBain's series, this book is not one of those. The drama is written very well and the main character is as dedicated as a lawyer can be. But Mary, as the accused is just not a full person and seems lacking in some way. The ending is a bit out of touch, but still has a bit of a strange twist by the author. All in all a fast, but average read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Fascinating story line, excellent characterizations, seemingly overwhelming evidence against Mary, accused of murdering three young girls and burying them in her garden. All reasons why I couldn't put the book down. I needed to know how Matthew Hope, Mary’s defense attorney, could ever prove Mary’s innocence given such evidence. That said, there were a number of problems I was willing to overlook, but which kept me from awarding Mary, Mary five stars:
- Matthew Hope insists upfront he will only agree to defend someone if he’s certain that they are innocent, yet he quickly decides to represent Mary with almost nothing to go on that she is indeed innocent.
- Mary, a former school teacher, is a decent, caring woman when it comes to educating young girls, yet she refuses to reveal what she suspects, or really knows, about the real killer, even though the real killer is likely to kill other young girls. That was nonsense!
- Matthew’s deep “love” for Patricia after barely knowing her seems contrived and unjustified and thrown in just to be able to include some sex scenes.
- The scene at the end with the real killer showing up at Matthew’s house, while chilling, made little sense.
One last note: Readers should be aware that about half of the text is courtroom interrogation and testimony. I liked that, others may not.
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The late, great Ed McBain always delivers a quality product, with sharp, well-written, smart plots, that make you feel for the characters, and become invested in them. His loss to the world of novels is tremendous. If you haven't read all of his books, do yourself a favor, and grab as many as you can, and enjoy!
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I thought the story was interesting but I wish the author would have gone more into detail about Mary's Character, i thought there was too much time spent in the court room when the real interesting part of the story was Mary's background which wasn't discussed until the last chapter or so.
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