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Horse You Came in On [Hardcover]

Martha Grimes
2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 16 1995
"Intricate and entertaining . . . A delicious puzzle." The Boston Globe
The murder is in America, but the call goes out to Scotland Yard superintendent Richard Jury. Accompanied by his aristocratic friend Melrose Plant and by Sergeant Wiggins, Jury arrives in Baltimore, Maryland, home of zealous Orioles fans, mouth-watering crabs, and Edgar Allan Poe. In his efforts to solve the case, Jury rubs elbows with a delicious and suspicious cast of characters, embarking on a trail that leads to a unique tavern called "The Horse You Came In On" . . .
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Description

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 alternate Hardcover edition.

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 alternate Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
The blind man smelled something new in Cider alley, a new scent mixed with the old ones of urine and sweat, beer and whisky, coming from some doorway (he imagined) where a little cluster of men liked to gather. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I ever read April 26 2004
Like other reviewers, I read the reviews on the back of the book that said that this was a great book. They were so wrong. I made myself finish the book - assuming that there had to be some clever tie-up of all these stories. But there isn't one. The murders and the solution are merely minor storylines in this book. And all the rest is annoying characters and talk, talk, talk. There are about 3 chapters AFTER you find out who the murderer is (an obvious murderer) and they serve no purpose except for more talk, talk, talk. This was the first book I read by this author and I won't be rushing to read others.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Balti-moran Pride March 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Having spent the last six years working two blocks from Cider Alley and Poe's grave, I found this book a very enjoyable read. I can imagine for some folks that this degree of familiarity does not apply, but I can say I've had a beer at the Horse You Came in On, and various other familiar stops that Plant visits with Hughie the hack.
I do feel that this particular edition of Richard Jury is not as satisfying or complex as some of the other mysteries and that the local color somewhat distracted from the plot. But, having said that, it was a good three hour light read that I did enjoy. Other novels Grimes of course rate much more highly with me, such as the The Blue Last, and The Grave Maurice.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not Great, But Occaisionally Very Funny Dec 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I would definitely agree with those reviewers who say that this is a much waker story than the others in Martha Grimes' wonderful Richard Jury series. However, there are some hysterically funny aspects to this novel,which transports Melrose Plant and company to Baltimore. Melrose, one of England's most sheltered men, learns about American football, street people, and homeless shelters in a series of incidents that are truly fun.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Great Disappointment 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Character Counts Sept. 6 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Once again, Martha Grimes demonstrates the richness and diversity available only in character-driven novels such as this one. In fact, such is probably her major contribution to the modern murder mystery, a genre that has been excessively dominated by plot-driven tales. As is often the case in her novels, and is especially true of all involving Richard Drury and the other regulars (e.g., Wiggins and Plant), the plot resolution (who-dunnit and why) is the least significant and satisfying aspect of The Horse You Came in On. Rather, it is the unfolding and subtle interplay of characters that engages and enriches the reader. That being said, this novel will probably not be the correct cup of tea for those who seek only the puzzle and the solving of the crime.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Rubbish 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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