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The Stargazey Hardcover – November 5, 1998

Book 15 of 23 in the Richard Jury Mysteries Series

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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: 6.5 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,139 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

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 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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14 of 16 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 Fred Camfield on January 3, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is another novel in the Richard Jury series. The title is the name of a pub that plays a small role in the story. The novel starts out well, but then the author makes a side trip to Long Piddleton and introduces material that is unconnected to the main plot. A couple of the characters from Long Piddleton eventually have roles in the main plot. The author has a fixation on piddling, and the characters include Flash, who exposes himself in public loos, and a child who piddles here, there, and everywhere, none of which is relevant to the main plot, although the people are related to one of the characters. Various odd characters wander in and out of the story, some related to the plot, and some just extra baggage along for the ride.
The main plot is interesting as New Scotland Yard tries to get to the truth of the matter. This is not an easy task as there is a tendency to not believe people telling the truth, and to believe people who are not. There is collateral damage, and a few bodies are left lying about. There is grand larceny and murder, and connections to crimes in other countries.
If you expect the villain (a cold blooded psychopath) to be brought to justice, you will be disappointed. Who is real and who is not? People can fade into the night or, in the words of Shakespeare, "...are melted into air, into thin air..."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carole Barkley on January 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Martha Grimes has come up with a complicated plot that involves art theft and murder. The story begins in St, Petersburg, Russia, and the reader starts out knowing more than the detectives, who take an awfully long time to figure out that is where all the threads lead. Of course, the various guesses, leads, and red herrings all make for entertaining reading...as do the various comments on the art world. However, the book suffers from an overabundance of characters.
Grimes has brought forward a great many characters from the previous 14 books which "star" Superintendent Richard Jury. There are also many references to previous cases and incidents, many of which readers may not be able to recall clearly, if--like me-they have read the books over the span of many years. One wishes for more memory joggers-maybe even footnotes!
This seems to be a hazard in mystery series, and some authors are better than others at capturing readers who enter the series somewhere other than at the beginning. I think anyone who picks up this book without having read the ones that came before may feel like he or she is just "not in the club."
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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.

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