Martha Grimes The Man with a Load of Mischief

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Inhaltsangabe zu „The Man with a Load of Mischief“ von Martha Grimes

"old-fashioned, but rather charming first book of the Inspector-Jury - Mysteries

— StefanieFreigericht

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  • Inspector Jury – Novel 1

    The Man with a Load of Mischief

    StefanieFreigericht

    While enjoying his forthieth-birthday present to himself – the lecture of a precious edition of Rimbaud - at the inn “Jack and Hammer”, Melrose Plant also gets presented with the body of Rufus Ainsley who had spent the night at the inn until his untimely death. Just the day before, the body of equally non-local William Small had been found at “The [namegiving] Man with a Load of Mischief”. This brings in Inspector Jury from Scotland Yard to investigate. Were the visitors perfect strangers to Long Piddleton, its inns and inhabitants? Richard Jury is talented in questioning in a way that makes people drop their veils, AND decidedly has managed to have kept his “inner child” alive which helps him along when questioning children; lovers of the more topical-oriented “The Mentalist” – TV series should enjoy him. The inspector begins his tour around the villagers who had all been dining at the respective inns on the evenings of the murders. He is just busy talking with Melrose Plant and enjoying the latter’s keen wits when he is informed about a third murder at a third inn. Might all of this really just be a case of window-dressing? And if so, for what? When Jury, normally melancholic, falls in love at first sight with Long Pidd’s Vivian Rivington, he not only rather loses his reins as far as she is concerned – the whole case more and more becomes a personal issue. But he still will have to face the killing to continue - and stories from the past to come to light. Martha Grimes’ writing has something old fashioned about it, some tune quite close to Agatha Christie which indulges in descriptions of a Great Britain that has been gone for some time – I can really relish this setup, cuddled up, feeling like Melrose Plant in his Northamptonshire hometown Long Piddleton’s inn Jack and Hammer with, of course, an Old Peculiar, investigating along in my imagination, but without being challenged by some harsh description of the actual procedure of the killing itself (as the more topical type of writing seems to be needing). The author goes at great lengths to create that style, using outdated vocabulary (such as dip rather than pickpocket, char for a cleaning woman) and populating her novel with the indispensable earl, vicar, village drunkard, elderly lady and so forth, despite of a setup after World War II and a begin of publishing in 1981. As a general, I love the series as “in between” crime stories – a pleasant read, nothing to be upset upon, they kind of “ring a tune”. I would rather not read a number of them in quick succession as the general storyline would wear off. Implausibilities? I ever wonder why nobody kills “Lady” Agatha – or at least tells her off, once and forever. And how police matters may be openly discussed with a civilian (Plant) remains a secret, but that goes in line with the genre. No offence taken. You meet up with the villagers who reappear in the sequels – yes, they are somewhat archetypical for the genre, but this IS the specific charm – like walking through a small village and meeting up with the locals. So this particular book is pretty insightful to understand any other sequel, apart from its topical story. I will add a list of the Inspector Jury - personnel as a comment, to be read in separate if needed.

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