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The Old Wine Shades: A Richard Jury Mystery (Richard Jury Mysteries) Audio CD – Audiobook, February 21, 2006

2.3 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews
Book 20 of 22 in the Richard Jury Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Man walked into a pub." This line, delivered with a droll inflection by reader John Lee, is the perfect opening for Martha Grimes's latest entry in her Inspector Jury series. Harry Johnson enters the Old Wine Shades pub and recounts to Jury the strange tale of a mother and son who disappeared nine months ago, along with their dog, Mungo. At first Jury finds the story more amusing than ominous, but as more details are revealed his curiosity is piqued, and he feels compelled to investigate the disappearances. What he discovers is that nothing, including the agreeable Johnson, is what it seems. Grimes builds a captivating mystery with plenty of twists and quirky characters to keep the listener engaged, and Lee's controlled performance fits nicely with her eclectic, character-driven storytelling. Lee's characterizations are presented with a dignified, no frills aplomb, which isn't easy given that they include the inner thoughts of an autistic child and the dog, Mungo. In fact, the scenes featuring Mungo supply some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, as well as some of the novel's most intense suspense. Jury fans will not be disappointed.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The Richard Jury series (this is the twentieth installment) is known for having an English pub in some sort of starring or supporting role, reflected in the title. In the latest, the pub of the title is the setting for a very long pub tale that sounds for all the world like a shaggy dog story. A man in the pub, with a shaggy dog at his feet, tells Jury (for unknown reasons, except sociability) about a friend of his whose wife, son, and dog all disappeared nine months previously. The clincher to the story is that the dog came back. New Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Jury lets the man (a physicist whose disappeared friend is also a physicist) talk for three nights about the disappearance. Jury gets drawn into investigating the case, which he mostly doubts, until a body turns up. Very improbable and creaky but still certain to be of interest to loyal Jury fans. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Richard Jury Mysteries
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; Unabridged edition (February 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143058452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143058458
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.3 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,063 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Martha Grimes has been at the top of my list of favorite mystery writers for years. I love her Richard Jury novels and I even have many of them on tape, narrated by Tim Curry. But THE OLD WINE SHADES has me stymied. I have read her other novels and was so bored that I thought someone else must have written them, but to read a Richard Jury novel that has run amuck is unacceptable.

Is Grimes on medication, or is she just sick of writing about Richard Jury? This novel reads like the mental wanderings of someone going crazy. Her attempt at cleverness by writing from the POV of Mungo the dog was an abysmal failure. Why allow the reader to know the thoughts of Jury and a dog, but nobody else? What's the point? And that's the conclusion I reached about this novel--what was the point? The plot ran all over the place and accomplished exactly nothing.

I think I'll go read some other mystery writers for awhile and hope Grimes gets well soon.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This Grimes mystery was a big disappointment. I have read all of her books and did not expect this. Please don't read this as a first Grimes book. The discussions about superstring/quantum/mechanical/M theories were okay with me--I read that stuff anyway. The dog was okay--I have several and I know they think and that they have stories to tell. But please...they have not "called time" in the afternoon in English pubs for a number of years. Also, what was the point of the bloody slipper prints? Why has our friend Jury suddenly become so gullible that he doesn't check details? The use of outdated forensic technology, or rather the lack of up-to-date technology, is disappointing. Everyone is snippy and grouchy--they have all turned into boors. In addition, there are way too many spelling and grammatical errors. Please, Martha, you can do better than this!
1 Comment 40 of 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dear Martha,

Frankly I am very dissapointed. You are one of the very few folks I buy hardcover, but this one is a bust. Maybe it's me though so bear with my questions.

1. The dog. Did he really have to 'think' (muse, wonder, philosophize)? What was the point of dragging the kitten all over the room? How come if he was smart enough to get into the basement and chew the kids free, he was too dumb to go get Jury and alert him to the kids in the basement?

2. Intellectual pretentiousness. How much did we really need to know about Schroedinger? Heisenberg? String Theory? Parallel universes? Quantum theory? How did the continuous references enhance the plot or further the story? How much did we need to know about wine and Trevor's snobbishness? Was he even necessary? Were they paying you by the word??????

3. Jury. By the end I began to think HE had entered a parallel universe. How come he rushes off to find Timmy and, arriving 20 minutes late, suddenly decides the kids are in no great danger after all and spends the last 10 pages of the book bantering with Wiggins and his reporter pal? What caused the loss of urgency? Did Harry (who was a pathological liar, a murderer, a diabolical calculator), kidnap the kids for kicks? Perhaps he too had entered a parallel universe (one devoid of rationality)? What was he going to do with them? Keep them in his cellar for awhile unti they got 'good and scared'?

I love you Martha, I'll keep reading your books. But I hope you'll let Jury back into this universe where dogs don't muse, Melrose gets to really play a part, and the writing is relevant and to the point.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read the Melrose Plant/Richard Jury series since the first book "The Man with a Load of Mischief". I would eagerly await the next installment of these books and went from paperback copies to the hardcover in order to enjoy them faster. Midway through the series, something changed. The witty, supremely intelligent, Plant became a stuffy prig. The inhabitants of "Long Pid" had lost their bite and were just pathetic. Jury himself just seemed to be lost in melancholia. It was as though Ms. Grimes had started a new series using names from the old series. But, I shouldered on and was rewarded, sometimes, with the flash of laugh out loud humor that graced the earlier books.

After reading the reviews of this latest book, I wisely waited to purchase it as a Bargain Hardcover and wish I had waited for the Bargain Paperback to be available. What is Ms. Grimes thinking? Do we really want to hear the thoughts of a dog? And the ending! Did she forget the central 'bad guy' can still go after the younger characters because NO ONE HAS STOPPED HIM? Central throughout is the theme of what fate awaits Jury for his earlier transgression in the previous book. We still don't know - the book just ends - I actually turned the page and looked for something more.

Please Ms. Grimes, go back to the beginning when these characters could shine. Bring back the biting, humerous dialoque. Bring back the Jury who fell in love with Vivian. Bring back the intelligent Plant. If you can't perhaps it is time to just let them go.
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Format: Paperback
But 1 Star is the lowest one can choose. I have never read a book with so much promise the first half, and so little delivery the second half. It is hard to understand how a reader new to the Jury series could put up with the constant references to the plot of the previous Jury book. Having read the previous book (heads above this one), I knew what was being referenced, but didn't really care. Specific complaints: Cyril the cat in Racer's office is getting OLD OLD OLD. (Cyril disappeared "lickety-split" behind the desk--sounds like Dr. Seuss.) The intelligent, thinking, almost talking dog Mungo belongs in a Children's book, not in a mystery that started off so well. ... But finally, the worst part--the "plot", or lack of it. "The whole wild plot simply to get rid of a woman," Gault said (p. 275). Sounded preposterous to him, does to me, too. And the "plot", if there WAS one, is never explained, resolved, completed. The book simply ends...Ms. Grimes had to go to the grocery store or something, so just quit "composing", and sent it off to the publishers. I agree with other posters--no more actually buying any of her novels. I'll check the next one out at the library to see if she recovers or not, but no more Cash to Grimes.
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