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The Stargazey Hardcover – November 5, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (November 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080505622X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805056228
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,151,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It all starts with two unlikely passengers on the same number 14 Fulham Road bus--Scotland Yard superintendent Richard Jury and a glamorous blonde woman in a sable coat. He can't keep his eyes off her, and when she disembarks, Jury follows her to the gates of Fulham Palace. He loses her in the fog, however, and when she's found shot to death in the herb garden of the palace, the game's afoot--especially since the victim may only look like Jury's blonde, but not be her at all. Two glamorous women in priceless fur coats in an obscure little museum in the London suburbs on the same foggy autumn night? Well, maybe. Or maybe not. The plot ultimately involves chicanery in the art world, a family of Russian émigrés, a missing Chagall, an international female assassin, a couple of unsettlingly strange young girls, and a hilarious send up of a stuffy English men's club. The tale serves a hearty helping of Grimes's usual interesting, not to say eccentric, characters. Among the most consistently fascinating of these is Jury's aristocratic friend Melrose Plant, a direct descendant of Lord Peter Wimsey and other wealthy, titled, amateur English detectives. Fans of Grimes's previous Superintendent Jury capers--each of which takes its name from an English pub--will enjoy the jokes, and new readers will appreciate the author's dry wit, her sharp eye for British oddities, and the way she turns an ordinary police procedural into a cozy little study of the national character. The Jury series began with The Man with a Load of Mischief (1981) and has included The Deer Leap (1985), The Horse You Came In On (1993), The Case Has Altered (1997), and several other tales. --Jane Adams

From Booklist

Grimes' popular Richard Jury returns in top form. A dead woman found at London's Fulham Palace is a dead ringer for a mysterious passenger who boarded the same bus Jury did just a few days earlier. Jury's only lead to the victim's identity is the fur coat she was wearing. The coat, which once belonged to an aging film star, was passed along to a family of Russian immigrants who own a posh art gallery. Jury asks his friend, art collector Melrose Plant, to investigate the connection between the coat, the art gallery, and the dead woman. Then another deadly clue turns up when a retired art critic with links to the gallery is murdered. Jury and Plant finally unravel the myriad bits of evidence and uncover an art-theft ring, unmask a professional assassin, and prove--sadly and yet again--that hatred, greed, and anger remain in plentiful supply and continue to drive much of human behavior. Grimes' latest delivers a delightfully entertaining blend of irony, danger, and intrigue, liberally laced with wit and charm. Certain to be popular, this is a must-have from one of today's most gifted and intelligent writers. Emily Melton

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

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'm in love with Grimes' cast of characters, but maybe not as in love with them as Grimes is. An appearance by every one of them in this latest Jury novel was gratuitous at best. Carol-Anne, Mrs. Wasserman, Racer, Fiona, Agatha, and most especially the cameo appearance of Vivian ("Melrose, what have they done to you!" exit left) seemed contrived. Also, we all know by now that Melrose has relinquished his many titles, so do we need to be told in every chapter? Especially since he doesn't seem averse to using them in this story. Ah, the story. Just a little far out, isn't it? Sounds like a twist on a real old story...Will Jury come out of his funk and find true love? Will Vivian recover from the Italian disease and come back to be the proper Britisher she really is? Maybe Grimes knows what she's doing after all, 'cause the answers to those questions will compel me to read the next book!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of my favorite Grimes mysteries. And I must give all the kudos to Melrose Plant in this one. He practically solves everything single-handedly while Jury wanders around in a fog of loneliness, depression and pain. If he falls for another wrong woman, I am going to scream!!! His personal problems so overwhelm him in this one, he can't even figure out why the dead woman and his mystery woman look alike. This, to me, was quite obvious and I usually never solve any part of mysteries before the author decides to explain. Of course, I didn't have it ALL figured out, but the mysterious look-a-likes, yes. Anyway, this book is Melrose's chance to really shine as a detective which is fine with me as I like him almost better than Jury. The mystery kept me turning the pages and I like the way Martha Grimes ties it all together. As always her characters are finely drawn and interesting. Not only is there the regular mystery, but there remains the mystery of the all the protagonists' personal lives that captivated me. In the last few books and especially in Stargazey, Jury seems to be building up to some big explosion or implosion. He seems to be so isolated and lonely, especially in Stargazey. This book really leaves him in a fog. I can't wait for the next one because I really hope that Jury and his blond temptress finally get together. And I really need to know what's up with Viv-Viv, as Trueblood irritatingly calls her. Does she or doesn't she care for Melrose? And if that didn't complicate things, Melrose seems to have something going with Beatrice, a wonderful, zany character, who compliments his fun side well. Maybe it IS time for Vivian to marry Count Dracula and disappear to Italy once and for all. Ms. Grimes, I await on pins and needles.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 23, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book - can't understand a couple of reviewers who didn't. Maybe the coincidence with the identical looking women was a bit far-fetched, but what of it? I think Martha Grimes has a great sense of humour - she had me chuckling my way through the book! And I absolutely adore Melrose Plant - except I wish he still had his titles, especially when most of the people around him still use them! I just wish Jury would stop falling for women who end up dead a chapter later. Also, what's the go with Vivian? Is she secretly in love with Melrose or Jury or am I reading too much into it? Anyway, I hope Martha Grimes keeps writing this series - I absolutely loved this book and I'll be waiting anxiously for further ones.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Billy J. Hobbs VINE VOICE on February 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Yes, it is a bleak November. Isn't London always bleak in November? And, yes, Superintendent Richard Jury of Scotland Yard hops on one of the red doubled deckers and rides Bus No. 14 down the Fulham Road toward Fulham Palace. (Bus No. 14 is easy to find--you can pick it up in front of Harrods!) Indeed, in this book, you are in for a ride! Martha Grimes once again evokes the landscape and atmosphere of London in yet another of her intriguing mysteries named after an actual pub in England. Once again she compels her readers (in this the 15th in the series) to stay to the very end with prose that is finely diced and clearly applied--and delightful to read. Grimes has a particular knack in evoking a profusion of literary allusions and of creating characters that hold one's attention, fully. In "Stargazey," Grimes indeed continues to lead us with her array of memorable characters as she tweaks and twitches the very nub of British life--or at least the life of the well-to-do. And she manages this coup, customary that it is with Grimes, with a sense of humor that borders on the unexpected. This American author spends time, obviously, in the UK for her research and she knows the country (and countryside) well; she espouses the vernacular like a native! One important issue, however, is that if you are a new reader of Grimes, keeping the characters straight and not being able to understand references to earlier escapades/cases must be confusing. It is essential that readers begin with earlier Grimes books for the full impact of this one; however, it is still worth the read! (Lastly, don't look for the Stargazey pub anymore. About three months before the book was published, new owners/managers took over and changed the name.Read more ›
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