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Mary, Mary [Mass Market Paperback]

Ed McBain
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1 1994
Despite overwhelming evidence quite to the contrary, defense attorney Matthew Hope is determined to prove that an eccentric woman is innocent of murdering three young girls, even though it may mean having to divulge his own troubling secrets. Reprint. NYT.

Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Three young girls are unearthed in the backyard of eccentric gardener Mary Barton in attorney Matthew Hope's 10th outing. Mystery Guild main selection in cloth.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Did retired schoolteacher Mary Barton go on a three-day killing spree, murdering and mutilating three young girls and then burying them in her garden in the dead of night? That's the charge that Florida attorney Matthew Hope needs to disprove in this swift but talking and watery legal procedural, tenth in the series (Goldilocks, 1977, etc.). The evidence against Mary is mostly eyewitness, but it seems overwhelming: Several solid citizens claim they saw her with the victims (found when a telephone repairman dug up her garden); a dry-cleaner says that she dropped off a bloodstained dress right after the killings; and her next-door neighbor swears she watched from a window as Mary placed a body in a grave. On the other hand, the Englishwoman paying for Mary's defense--in gratitude for Mary's kindnesses when teaching her--insists that the accused is a saint; and Matt believes that she's innocent. So the lawyer sets out to make his case, mostly by refuting the credibility and reports of the eyewitnesses in courtroom Q&As that eat up the lion's share of the narrative. That's okay, since McBain's dialogue snaps at quark speed and he knows his way around a courtroom--but it's of little impact, because the surprise hook that twists the case around pops up only in two paragraphs before the final pages, when the story careens into Psycho-drama: The entire courtroom development is salted away as red herring. Throughout, shading and bulk are added by extra-case doings, including an affair between Matt and an A.D.A.; background detail on minor, always sharply etched characters (particularly Matt's p.i.-assistants); and musings about Floridian ways. Terrific courtroom patter, but by case's end most readers will declare a mistrial. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
Based on the hardcover 1992 edition...
This book is this reader's first exposure to author Ed McBain... even though an older writing, tucked amongst all the books owned by this "biblioholic", it begged to be read regardless of its age!
"MARY, MARY" is Mary Barton -- a teacher by occupation; a outstanding flower & plant gardener by hobby, as witnessed by neighbors of the glory of flora in Mary's yard. Mary Barton is accused of killing three young girls, whose bodies are found buried within her floral domain.
Defense Attorney Matthew Hope, and assistants - Toots and Warren - believe in Mary's innocence - most of the time... With a few credible and non-credible witnesses for defense and prosecution alike, the court game of winning the jury's favor is played to the hilt. Witness, neighbor Charlotte Carmody swears that she saw Mary Barton digging at night, burying bodies in her floral paradise garden. A denim dress and a pair of sneakers come into play and question as to the validity of ownership. Meanwhile, a former student of Ms. Barton's - Melanie Lowndes, from England, comes forward to pay the defense expenses, and to support the "gentility" of Mary, testifying that Mary loves children and would never commit murder.
Although this reader at first did not favor the flavor of the rapid-fire, gunshot writing style, I would do the author an injustice by negating the author's book "MARY, MARY" as a bad read -- IT IS A GOOD READ!
Albeit a sound-story premise, I found it awkward to "digest" the author's method of sliding in non-premise scenery and activity, personal and otherwise, as an interruption to the flow of the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a thrill! Nov. 9 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a simply thrilling book. I doubt if I was the only one who found it not only a great read, but also sort of spooky as well. Once again Mr.Mcbain has succeeded in giving a very well written performance. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a little bit of suspence in thier lives.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
THIS BOOK WAS GREAT!!! AFTER READING A FEW PAGES I GOT TO THE POINT THAT I WAS TURNING THE PAGES HUNGRILY,I WANTED MORE AND MORE. IT WAS ALSO CONFUSING, WELL THAT WAS THE IDEA AND MC BAIN IS A MASTER AT THIS. BELIEVE ME, YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED WHEN YOU GET TO THE END.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Courtroom drama June 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mary, Mary is a fascinating courtroom drama....except for the ending. The ending is contrived and just plain silly. But then, if one must run out of gas, I suppose it is better to do it near the end rather than the beginning.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much time in the court room Jan. 21 2014
By Kate - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought the story was interesting but I wish the author would have gone more into detail about Mary's Character, i thought there was too much time spent in the court room when the real interesting part of the story was Mary's background which wasn't discussed until the last chapter or so.
4.0 out of 5 stars Old book ... but a book is a BOOK � & I read a good read � Feb. 3 2004
By Josephine Kaszuba Locke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Based on the hardcover 1992 edition...
This book is this reader's first exposure to author Ed McBain... even though an older writing, tucked amongst all the books owned by this "biblioholic", it begged to be read regardless of its age!
"MARY, MARY" is Mary Barton -- a teacher by occupation; a outstanding flower & plant gardener by hobby, as witnessed by neighbors of the glory of flora in Mary's yard. Mary Barton is accused of killing three young girls, whose bodies are found buried within her floral domain.
Defense Attorney Matthew Hope, and assistants - Toots and Warren - believe in Mary's innocence - most of the time... With a few credible and non-credible witnesses for defense and prosecution alike, the court game of winning the jury's favor is played to the hilt. Witness, neighbor Charlotte Carmody swears that she saw Mary Barton digging at night, burying bodies in her floral paradise garden. A denim dress and a pair of sneakers come into play and question as to the validity of ownership. Meanwhile, a former student of Ms. Barton's - Melanie Lowndes, from England, comes forward to pay the defense expenses, and to support the "gentility" of Mary, testifying that Mary loves children and would never commit murder.
Although this reader at first did not favor the flavor of the rapid-fire, gunshot writing style, I would do the author an injustice by negating the author's book "MARY, MARY" as a bad read -- IT IS A GOOD READ!
Albeit a sound-story premise, I found it awkward to "digest" the author's method of sliding in non-premise scenery and activity, personal and otherwise, as an interruption to the flow of the story.
After getting used to the "he said", "she said"; and the clipped-style format, I found myself being absorbed into the story, and imaged placement in the jury box and court observers section. Readers will find that author McBain allows for lengthier, vivid descriptions of script in court processes as informative & entertaining, inclusive of the judge's actions, the pro and con attorneys arguments, and the orders to the jury of their duties to reaching a viable verdict.
Any reader knows that an ending is not an ending--- until the story actually ends!
I recommend this author and look forward to reading additional Ed McBain writings.
3.0 out of 5 stars hard to keep up July 8 2014
By A. Voracious Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
And not especially worth the wait. Takes way too much time and words to tell the story that most readers had pegged about a third of the way through.
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost boring June 23 2014
By Shirley Bancroft - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was just okay. Slow moving and the story line was very predictable. Not his best effort. Usually really like Ed McBain. Not so much this time..
4.0 out of 5 stars Very, Very.... June 18 2014
By C. Walts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Seemed like a lost cause for poor Mathew, but it turns at the end to a great story from McBain!
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