The Stargazey

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9780805056228: The Stargazey

November. in a bleak month, a bleak Richard Jury takes an aimless ride on one of London's icons--the old double-decker bus, a # 14 traveling the Fulham Road. His attention is caught by a woman "with hair so gossamer-pale you could see the moon through it," wearing a fur coat, boarding his bus in front of a pub called the Stargazey. Her behavior intrigues him, as she leaves, reboards, and leaves the bus again. Jury follows her to the gates of Fulham Palace--but only to the gates. There he stops. Later he wonders if the death in the walled garden of Fulham Palace could have been averted if he had gone in...

nd if this precipitated still another death in a London club named Boring's, which is Melrose Plant's crusty old men's club. Before Jury and Plant work out the connection between these killings, they are both helped and hindered by Martha Grimes' usual band of eccentrics: Theo Wrenn Browne, trying to shut down the Long Pidd library; the Cripps family trying to shut down civilization; and Diane Demorney, the new horoscope columnist for the Sidbury Star, trying to shut down the heavens.

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Review:

It all starts with two unlikely passengers on the same number 14 Fulham Road bus--Scotland Yard superintendent Richard Jury and a glamorous blonde woman in a sable coat. He can't keep his eyes off her, and when she disembarks, Jury follows her to the gates of Fulham Palace. He loses her in the fog, however, and when she's found shot to death in the herb garden of the palace, the game's afoot--especially since the victim may only look like Jury's blonde, but not be her at all. Two glamorous women in priceless fur coats in an obscure little museum in the London suburbs on the same foggy autumn night? Well, maybe. Or maybe not. The plot ultimately involves chicanery in the art world, a family of Russian émigrés, a missing Chagall, an international female assassin, a couple of unsettlingly strange young girls, and a hilarious send up of a stuffy English men's club. The tale serves a hearty helping of Grimes's usual interesting, not to say eccentric, characters. Among the most consistently fascinating of these is Jury's aristocratic friend Melrose Plant, a direct descendant of Lord Peter Wimsey and other wealthy, titled, amateur English detectives. Fans of Grimes's previous Superintendent Jury capers--each of which takes its name from an English pub--will enjoy the jokes, and new readers will appreciate the author's dry wit, her sharp eye for British oddities, and the way she turns an ordinary police procedural into a cozy little study of the national character. The Jury series began with The Man with a Load of Mischief (1981) and has included The Deer Leap (1985), The Horse You Came In On (1993), The Case Has Altered (1997), and several other tales. --Jane Adams

About the Author:

Martha Grimes is the author of sixteen novels, fourteen of them Richard Jury mysteries, the most recent being The Case Has Altered (Holt, 0-8050-5620-3), a New York Times Notable Book of 1997. She lives in Washington, D.C. and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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