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The Richard Jury Books by Martha Grimes


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Initial post: Jul 29, 2012 12:11:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 2:01:53 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
Just read all 22 of them back-to-back. My mind is all muddled. It is the first time where I have encountered "heroes" that I do not really admire and I don't know really why.

I must have "liked" the books because, as I said, I read them all. I think the writing, for the most part, is first-rate. In fact, one of the reasons that may explain why I continued with them (and will, most likely, buy and read future entries in the series) is because Grimes steps away from the ordinary. Some of the "good" people die! At least one of the "villains" doesn't come to justice (yet.)

There are some things that bother me and one of the major things is the time-line. Although (at least the last few) the books are set in late 90s, Jury, et al, "remember" WWII. That places him at age late 60s or so but he isn't written to be that age. Both he and Plant occasionally refer to themselves as being 50-ish, IMMHO, they are too old to be going through such coming-of-age type angst. The sex scenes (all closed-door so it isn't a complaint (which I wouldn't make anyway) about graphic descriptions) are bothersome. No "relationship" (except there does appear to be an "adult" relationship developing now) - they just kind fall into bed. For those women Jury (apparently) has feelings for, one of them spanned 10 YEARS without contact and, as written, had no basis in actual fact anyway.

The mystery parts are uneven across the books and that is actually ok with me. Meaning that some books focus on the mystery and some on the background of the various people involved.

Then there are the characters that I despise. I absolutely HATE Agatha. I find nothing humorous about someone who steals. I find nothing humorous about someone who intrudes on another for food and service. If these were written during Regency or other British time-periods where rules of conduct were so vital, then, maybe.

Sorry for the long post. Guess I'm more curious about my reactions to these books and this series than anything else. The very fact that I continue to ponder all this does, IMO, indicates that Ms. Grimes has been successful in giving me my own mystery to solve.

DL

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2012 10:04:30 AM PDT
Bkworm Bren says:
I loved the earlier Martha Grimes (Richard Jury) books and I'll probably re-read them in the future, but the last few were not as good, imo. The oddball characters and wonderful settings are a great escape from everyday life and I love the way the author portrays children and pets! It's been a long time since I've read the early Richard Jury books and you've reminded me of how much I miss Richard, Melrose and even Agatha!

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 10:56:52 PM PDT
Susie says:
Hi,

I'm a big fan of the Richard Jury series and read them as fast as I could find them.

I wasn't crazy about Agatha either but enjoyed how Melrose felt about her.

I hope she has more coming out.

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 2:05:54 PM PDT
Amanda Peck says:
I didn't read them all--eventually thought "no mas" about them. I started in the middle with found book. I was totally bewildered by those people. Eventually figured them out, but....

And aren't these the ones in which a child shows the way--every time?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 5:20:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 2:04:57 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
Yes, IMMHO, the preternaturally intelligent child is far too common across the stories.

So far my favorite character has been Mungo. Those who haven't read the series but seeing my member name will not be surprised to find that Mungo is a dog! However, even there, Grimes introduces Mungo - straight dog character. Then, suddenly in the middle of the first book where he appears, he is given voice. (I LOVED his escapades with Elf!) The problem was that Mungo doesn't just have a "voice" - he is psychic and can witness conversations when they are occurring at great geographical distances. This was too much for me - that whole thing just doesn't fit well with this genre/story arc. (IMMHO, the reason that Grimes allowed the "villain" to escape in that first story was that Mungo seduced her. She could NOT let that dog fade away. LOL!)

I just don't really care for any of these people. Frankly, I find Diane to be the most interesting - as in unusual - character on the human side. She couldn't carry a storyline but I think she adds an interesting angle. I don't even want to THINK about that family with all the children and the father who exposes himself. Can't remember the name. Pratt? Pritt? Something. I can't find that situation humorous. Makes me kinda nauseous in fact.

I find it very difficult to believe that a policeman has such a knowledge of art too. Just doesn't sound like the kind of education someone who had been raised up as an orphan (state care) until turned over to fairly distant relatives would have had. I will say, though, that I have been doing a lot of computer searches to find some of the artwork mentioned in this series. So interested, in fact, that I found several DVDs of movies about some artists, bought several books about art history, and am looking at purchasing some biographies of artists. All this as a direct result of reading this series.

Also, I would DEFINITELY have had the locks changed to my "flat" after the first example of intentional abuse of "taking phone messages" by a neighbor. Wouldn't care HOW attractive that neighbor may be!

As I said previously, I can't write these books off because, obviously, they fully penetrated my mind. That is one indicator of a good book in my experience.

It is a "mystery" though just why I am loyal to this series.

DL

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012 3:00:00 PM PDT
Bkworm Bren says:
As much as I love Martha Grimes (and Richard Jury) she lost me when the animals started talking to each other in her most recent novel! I'm sure I'll eventually read the earliest ones for a second time to remind me why I love her writing. I also want to read the earliest Patricia Cornwell (Scarpetta) novels again because I like them better than her most recent Scarpettas'. I guess all good things must come to an end (sigh)...........

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012 5:00:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2012 2:05:36 AM PDT
Dog Lover says:
I hear that (and, apparently, so does Mungo! LOL)

I really liked the early Cornwell but had issues with the adultery developed later in the series. I won't completely abandon Scarpetta but they do tend to fall somewhere near the bottom of my TBR pile. It is hard for me to accept that behavior from a "heroine."

Too many other things to read at the moment so it isn't a big deal for me. Helps me make priority decisions!

DL

EtA: You know? I'm feeling a bit uncertain. It has been so many years since I've actually read Cornwell. I hope I'm not thinking of another author and character/series. I'll have to go dig'em out and check on that.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2012 3:18:43 PM PDT
Bkworm Bren says:
I got really tired of Lucy, Scarpetta's spoiled niece! I didn't really like the direction her career was taking, either. I just remember the dark, creepy atmosphere from the first books and how scared I felt sometimes while reading them (in a pleasurable way)!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 7, 2012 8:12:09 PM PDT
L. Burns says:
<<There are some things that bother me and one of the major things is the time-line. >>

I started reading the Jury mysteries back in the late 1980's. I remember thinking that Jury was fairly "ancient" - 50-something. (Funny, 50 doesn't seem that old to me now. Hmm, wonder why?) Anyway, it seems that while Jury doesn't age throughout the series, technology does change. The characters use cell phones, etc. Normally this kind of thing would drive me batshot crazy, but it seems to work for this series.

While I loved the early books in this series, I've been less than thrilled with everything that came after "The Old Wine Shades". The Harry Johnson storyline bores me. Of course I will continue to buy any new books that come out. Who am I kidding - I'll pre-order them and even pay the exorbitant kindle price! No way can I give up on a series that I've followed for nearly (gulp) three decades. Martha Grimes is now in her 80's though and I *think* I remember reading about her having some health issues. I don't know if another Jury book is in the works.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 8, 2012 8:35:46 AM PDT
Sherry Siska says:
Count me in the club of "loved the early Jury books, liked the middle years ones, and lost interest somewhere along the way". On a whimsical note, I have a very cool print of a caricature someone did of the characters in the Jury books. I have it hanging in my bathroom. (Weird place, I know) I love the print more than the books!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 8, 2012 8:40:12 AM PDT
L. Burns says:
I'm jealous - would like to have that print myself. In my mind I picture Jury as looking like Pierce Brosnan. In the books he's described as tall, good-looking, dark hair and an amazing smile. So Pierce it is. I've never been able to get a clear picture of Melrose. Maybe a younger Jeremy Irons?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 8, 2012 9:44:29 AM PDT
Bkworm Bren says:
I always pictured Melrose Plant as looking like a young Cary Grant (even though he had blonde hair in the book descriptions).

Posted on Aug 9, 2012 5:31:40 AM PDT
Annie DC says:
I really liked the early ones, which I read when they were new and as soon as they came out, but I gave up on them at least 15 years ago. It seemed like Grimes was no longer trying to write a good book/mystery, but just thought it was clever to play a weird parlor game where she spent all her efforts trying to insert, somehow, as many characters as possible from previous books into the current plot, whether it made sense or not. It usually didn't, and got really annoying. It was so obvious how she tortured the plot to get them in, and they usually served no real purpose, which really killed the pacing of the books.

I agree that the chronic Clearly Significant Child Character became repetitious. And the main crew, over time, became irritating in their passivity concerning their personal lives.

I'm glad I saw this thread. Periodically I wonder if I should go catch up on the ones I haven't read, but from the comments I see here, I'll pass.

But if anyone hasn't read them, the early ones are quite charming.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2012 5:33:29 AM PDT
Annie DC says:
I always saw Melrose as a young Warren Zevon.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2012 5:36:52 PM PDT
Susie says:
Hi Sherry,

Where did you find such a print? I would love to see it.

Do you know if there's prints for other series'?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2012 5:44:39 PM PDT
Susie says:
Hi,

Does anyone remember Melrose described as having red hair?

For some reason I picture him with reddish hair, kind of heavy set, tall and not very attractive.

I picture Jury as a tall attractive man with dark hair in need of a little trim.

I've never lost interest in the series, I hope there's still more to come.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2012 7:46:20 PM PDT
L. Burns says:
No, I don't remember Melrose being described as a redhead. I know that he's supposed to have green eyes, because that's mentioned a number of times. For years I pictured him as a blonde, then in one of the books his hair is described as brown or dark brown.

I guess I've always thought of him as being attractive, but not handsome. Aristocratic looking. Grimes has never overly described her characters, which is something that I appreciate. I like being able to form my own picture; I hate when an author spoon feeds you a description - "He was a dead ringer for <insert famous person's name>". Then your just stuck with that picture in your head, like it or not.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2012 8:11:06 PM PDT
Susie says:
You're right about Grimes not being overly descriptive of her characters and somehow I have vivid images of them in different scenes.

I feel like I've seen a photo of Melrose in high back leather chair across from his aunt who's tossing back fairy cakes and complaining about them at the same time.

I can picture Jury and his neighbor in his flat polishing her nails.

I don't think there's another series whose characters I could picture as clearly, it's strange.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2012 10:17:05 AM PDT
Bkworm Bren says:
Susie: I'm pretty sure Melrose was described as being blonde. I always pictured Cary Grant, but didn't let the blondeness get in the way of my imagination! In my mind, Richard Jury was a young Sam Waterston (of Law and Order fame). I have always found him to be very handsome even though I'm not really a Law & Order fan. I miss the eary Jury books, so I suppose it's about time for me to read them again.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2012 10:07:26 AM PDT
Susie says:
Hi Bkworm,

I don't know how I got the impression Melrose wasn't really attractive, maybe because children never warmed to him, I just pictured an unattractive big red haired man.

If I think about the air he gives off I could see him being Cary Grant-ish.

It wasn't long ago I read the latest Jury book, The Black Cat, and having read all of them I should have an accurate image, oh well.

You might want to read The Black Cat, I thought it was like all the others. I was kind of surprised I still liked the series after being hooked on Scandinavian crime fiction for so many years.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2012 10:37:28 AM PDT
Bkworm Bren says:
Hi back at ya Susie,

I've read all the Richard Jury books, but I wasn't very happy with the talking animals in the latest ones! The string theory discussions just about caused my little brain to explode, also! I really need to go back to the beginning and start over, since I love the earlier books!
That will probably be a long time in the future, though, cause I have so many unread ones to get to (both kindle and DTB's)! Thanks for reminding me of Richard Jury ---- I had such a big crush on him while I was reading!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2012 4:20:28 PM PDT
J. Santoro says:
Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride or Glory is how I picture Melrose.

Posted on Sep 3, 2012 7:18:22 AM PDT
Plant was described somewhere as a blonde with green eyes, I always had the impression of a man slightly above average in looks but rather quiet and at times easily overlooked. Jury, I thought, had the reddish hair.

I love Cyril who seems to be bent on causing Racer to stroke out.

Posted on Sep 3, 2012 2:51:38 PM PDT
Condorena says:
Dog Lover,

Thanks for this thread. I am like Annie and Sherry Siska. I was wowed by the several early books and I grew disenchanted as the books got thicker and thicker seemingly more padded than a prom bra.

Are you saying that Melrose and Jury are a Couple now. That blows me away. There is certainly no foreshadowing of that in the early books. I know they are both bachelors but waiting until you are sixty to come out, wow again.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2012 4:05:15 PM PDT
Dog Lover says:
<Are you saying that Melrose and Jury are a Couple now.>

Um. No. I didn't say anything like that. At least, I didn't MEAN to say that!

DL
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Discussion in:  Mystery forum
Participants:  25
Total posts:  71
Initial post:  Jul 29, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 30, 2013

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