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The Horse You Came In On Mass Market Paperback – July 2, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her latest Richard Jury novel (after The Old Contemptibles ), Grimes sends her Scotland Yard superintendent to the States to investigate a murder but assigns most of the sleuthing to his pal Melrose Plant. Jury and Inspector Wiggins take a busman's holiday in Baltimore to look into the murder of a young American, the nephew of a friend of Jury's acquaintance Lady Cray, at a cabin in Pennsylvania. Plant has come along to visit his friend Ellen Taylor, a novelist whose student at Johns Hopkins was recently murdered near the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. The intricate plot also involves the murder of a homeless man in a Baltimore alley and unfolds in oblique, unexpected turns, hinging on the partial manuscript, found by the dead student, of what might be a lost Poe short story and on the ambitions of descendants of an old Baltimore family. Jury and Wiggins talk to local police and shopkeepers; Plant tours Baltimore with Hughie the cabbie, picking up clues; and Ellen writes (while chained to her chair) the sequel to her first novel while agonizing over its near plagiarism by another writer. Notable for its themes of authorship and authenticity and for the cast of delightfully eccentric characters--who gather each day at a blue-collar bar called The Horse You Came In On--this mystery, with its feathery plot and fey, lighthearted tone, moves in quite a different direction than earlier Jury tales. Not bad, just different. 100,000 first printing; Mystery Book Club main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Is any mystery writer more generous than Grimes in spinning out subplots and a supporting cast? In bringing Scotland Yard's superintendent Richard Jury to America to investigate the murder of young Philip Calvert, who worked in Philadelphia's Barnes Foundation, she provides not only two other murders (Baltimore street person John- Joy and ambitious Johns Hopkins Ph.D. candidate Beverly Brown) that might be connected--and just how they're connected is the best surprise here--but also a newly discovered story that Brown insisted was by Edgar Allan Poe (yes, we get to read the whole thing); a minimalist novelist, Brown's teacher, who chains herself to her writing desk; Jury sidekick Melrose Plant's swooping excursion into early Baltimore genealogy (courtesy of a riotously misinformed cabbie); and much, much more. As in Jury's recent cases (The Old Contemptibles, 1990, etc.), the high-spirited feast of episodes, settings, and allusions--from Chatterton to Barry Levinson to a secondhand store called Nouveau Pauvre--is too sumptuous for Jury or his fans to digest fully. But if some readers will complain that Grimes has left a million loose ends, nobody will rise from this table still hungry. (First printing of 100,000) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (July 2, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345387554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345387554
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martha Grimes is the bestselling author of twenty-one Richard Jury novels, as well as the novels Dakota and Foul Matter, among others. Her previous two Jury books, The Old Wine Shades and Dust, both appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Penelope Schmitt on February 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Martha Grimes' mysteries, all of them, stand in an ordered rank on my bedroom shelves. She's a writer whose stories are worth reading and then re-reading. The puzzle is nearly always interesting and satisfactorily worked out. But that's not the real delight of the novels, only the entertaining excuse for two other more compelling reasons to read her. First, there's her Pickwickian cast of characters. They're a collection of perpetually and ruefully unattached men and women of indeterminate early middle age, who meet in a variety of colorfully named pubs and solve murders with more or less tragicomic flair, while they repeatedly fail to resolve the mysteries of their own inner lives. Second, there's the speculative and philosophical line of thought that often crops up as a secondary theme. Grimes gives this metaphysical aspect full play as a depth and dimension of counterpoint to her vivid characters and solid plot lines. The Horse You Came In On plots an intriguing mystery, but it is about writing, and specifically about plot invention in writing. Let me count the ways--a purported diary from Italy; a minimalist novel; the plagiarized version of the minimalist novel; a holograph manuscript that may or may not have been penned by Edgar Allen Poe; a Russian romance tale made up on the spot to amuse a child; a fabricated family history; a book of poetry; a work in progress (whose writer, to maintain focus, chains herself to her Johns Hopkins University desk--and thereby hangs the crisis of the plot); a hobbyist's attempt at a Dashiell Hammett-style mystery.Read more ›
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 6, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Martha Grimes usually writes complex, thoughtful mysteries notable for their memorable characters and atmosphere; consequently, THE HORSE YOU CAME IN ON--which finds Jury and his friend Melrose Plant visiting Baltimore, Maryland to investigate a double homocide--will be a great disappointment her many fans.
The story is at once very slight and very, very convoluted, involving both an "art" novelist who is struggling to finish her latest work and a student who may or may not have forged a manuscript attributed to Edgar Allen Poe. After a certain point, Grimes also relies upon genealogy for a plot twist--and while I grant that she certainly knows a great deal about writing novels and is at least credible on the subject of Poe, her commentary on genealogy will not pass muster with even the mildest amateur genealogist. In the process we are also treated to chunks of the book the novelist is writing and chunks of the Poe story that may or may not be an elaborate hoax, and by the time the novel winds to its rather tedious conclusion we feel we have read everything except a novel by Martha Grimes. Which is a great pity indeed.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was surprised to find that Grimes was willing to take her ensemble cast on the road and try her hand at mystery in America. Although Grimes is not always good at clearing up the loose ends that she begins, she is true to her characters. Her descriptions are vivid and accurate and her gang of do-gooders are delightfully consistent. Frankly I would be disappointed if some young lady didn't win the heart of confirmed bachelor Melrose Plant in each novel. Grimes entertains if only because her characters have a self-depracating sense of humour and a rollicking good time. I was thrilled on a trip to Baltimore, MD when I stumbled across the tavern "The Horse You Came In On." It was a piece of my world crossing Richard Jury's path.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By MARGARET& PETER on May 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I COULD NOT FINISH THIS BOOK. I HAVE GREATLY ENJOYED THE OTHER INSPECTOR JURY MYSTERIES AND WAS REALLY DISAPPOINTED.. MY THEORY IS THAT THE FAULT LAY IN TRYING TO SET AN ENGLISH MYSTERY IN THE US. THE INTERIORITY AND SENSE OF PLACE THAT SO CHARACTERIZES ENGLISH MYSTERY DOES NOT WORK IN A SETTING LIKE THE US. FROM THAT

STEM ALL THE OTHER DIFFICULTIES WITH THIS BOOK-- FLOUNDERING AND LOST - BECAUSE THE CHARACTERS ARE NOT AT "HOME". AGATHA CHRISTIE COULD PULL IT OFF BUT WHEN POIROT WAS IN EGYPT, FOR INSTANCE, HE WAS SURROUNDED BY ENGLISHMEN WHO HAD IN EFFECT "BROUGHT' THEIR PORTABLE WC'S ( LIKE THE ENGLISH DID IN AFRICA) ON THEIR "SAFARIS". (sorry about the capitals - just noticed it)
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By T. Sunderland on May 5, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read most of her books, but this one in a word is 'crap.'
On the back cover of my paperback, the Chicago Sun-Times calls this book 'a juicy stew of a plot.' The New York Times is even worse, calling it 'clever.' Excuse me? Who's paying these guys to say this? You would think after 100 or so years of reviewing, they could at least be honest.
I stopped at about page 169 after a complete mish-mash of bad character development: Plant engaging in fairy tales with pre-teen booksellers, some other forgettable character droning on about someone called 'Sweetie,' and the thing with Poe (??) - forget this one, it's even worse than 'Rainbow's End,' which was pretty sad in its own right (at least the Jury/Sante Fe side of the book) and move on to 'The Lamorna Wink' - now that's 'entrancing' (The Orlando Sentinel).
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