Horse You Came in On Hardcover – Jan 16 1995
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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).
Someone discovers a long lost manuscript of E.A. Poe's (or is it?) And we get to read that too. There are verbal stories told, and dreams. I've never read such an abundace and variety of prose wrapped up in one little mystery!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by ktgnewjersey
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. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2002 by Martha E. Nelson
As others, I have read several other novels by Ms. Grimes and have enjoyed them very much. However, this one had me confused from the beginning. Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2000
I've been a fan of Martha Grimes a long time and have read all of the Richard Jury series in order. I've loved every one that I've read until this one. Read morePublished on Sept. 21 2000