The Black Cat: A Richard Jury Mystery Hardcover – Apr 6 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Third the novel is rife with pointless vignettes and subplots inserted simply to keep certain characters "active" and ready to turn on in future works. There are other plot premises such as an aunt failing even to recognise her dead niece which stretch credibility beyond reasonable limits.
If you want to be able to namedrop famous and expensive shoe designers, or read scant references to other Hitchcock films which permeate this work, then good on you and tally ho. If however, you are looking for the tightly woven intricate material so characteristic of Martha Grimes' earlier work in this series, then, like me, you might be quite disappointed.
Another reviewer alludes to the death of Ms. Grimes cat; still another to a decline in her writing quality. It remains to be seen, but I too will wait for a library version of her next novel as this one isn't worth the price of admission, even on discounted theatre Tuesdays.
Three women, all beautiful "escorts" and favoring really, really expensive shoes, turn up dead in the story. Jury eventually figures out the murderer but not without help from old friends, and one "enemy", Harry Johnson. Evidently, Johnson has figured in to previous Jury stories, as have the old friends. With any on-going series, jumping-in in the middle is slightly daunting to the new reader, but Grimes has a good way of identifying who's who.
It's a good read and I'll look for other, earlier Jury novels.
Jury, who pines for a cigarette frequently through these pages as he has "for the thousandth heartbreaking time in three years," and is described as a "high-ranking detective with the Metropolitan police, but without much feeling for rank, and who'd climbed the ladder without much feeling for the rungs," remains thoroughly endearing, as do his mates, among them the debonair Melrose Plant, Lord Ardrey, if you please; Harry Johnson, nominally his nemesis but with whom he shares a decidedly ambivalent relationship; and Dr. Phyllis Nancy, his good friend-cum-paramour.Read more ›
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
And find the knowledge of God." -- Proverbs 2:3-5 (NKJV)
Catnapping (I'll leave it to you to figure out which meaning applies) plays an unusually large role in this story that copiously hearkens back to The Old Wine Shades and Dust. With each new story, Ms. Grimes seems more and more determined to leave the Long Piddleton group further and further behind. While some will welcome that change, others will regret it. Melrose Plant plays a conspicuous role in the Black Cat only for humor's sake . . . which is actually pretty well done.
If you haven't read any other books in the series, I can assure you that this book will be quite confusing. You probably won't rate it even as high as three stars. If you are determined to read The Black Cat, at least go back and read The Old Wine Shades and Dust first.
I found it a little hard to take the story seriously. It's almost a satire on a Richard Jury novel. The murder victim seems vaguely familiar to several people, but no one places the well-dressed victim as a local. Come on! How likely is that?
If that weren't enough, the cat and dog dialogue is pretty hot and heavy in this one. And there's also one of the least satisfying encounters with Harry Johnson of the books in which he appears.
The mystery itself is pretty decent if you can get past the almost gratuitous side trips into the earlier stories. But be sure that you have an interest in women's shoes. Otherwise, you'll think you are watching E! rather than reading a murder mystery with the taciturn Richard Jury.
Ms. Grimes, I'm sorry that your cat, Blackie, died. You are kind to carry on Blackie's memory in this way.
Most recent customer reviews
Grimes's formula is getting a bit tattered. It's just a light escapist read with some caricatured characters whose author is almost visibly trying to find more and more outlandish... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Marjorie Stewart
Martha Grimes is a master of setting a scene and writes colourful descriptions which make a reader feel they are part of the setting. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2013 by Teresa-Lee Cooke
I love Martha Grimes and I think I have read all the Richard Jury Novels. This is one of the best. Highly enjoyablePublished on April 14 2013 by Karen Mudge