Customer Reviews for

Belle Ruin (Emma Graham Series #3)

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
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  • Posted October 11, 2014

    Because Martha Grimes is my favorite author, I have read all her

    Because Martha Grimes is my favorite author, I have read all her books except for Vertigo 42. I do most of my reading from library books, but in the case of the Emma series, I purchased those after reading the library copies. The atmosphere Ms. Grimes achieves in these particular books is addictive. To me, they are far more intriguing than the Richard Drury books. Ms. Grimes is such a creative wordsmith, I will sometimes read a sentence several times just to savor it. 'Anonymous' who has left several critiques below, reminds me of my husband. When we used to take our yearly trips from Texas to home in N.C., he was always in such a hurry to get there, he never let himself enjoy the two days of scenery and what was happening along the way. All he could see was the end goal of being in N.C. My advise is to enjoy the trip through the Emma books and be aware of the rarity of such excellent writing. I recommend ALL Martha Grimes books but especially the Emma Graham novels. A newer author I recommend Is John Hart. He is another who knows the English language and how to write. I especially liked Down River.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Written Carefully, Intriguing Ongoing Plot and SubPlots, Characters I Feel I've Met

    I loved Belle Ruin. And as far as the complaint of there not being an end--There is always an end of certain secondary plot lines-(I can't say more or it would ruin it for anyone who enjoys a well built plot)-life just happens to be open ended till we die. (perhaps after-that is open for debate). What I like most about this series is that it doesn't end before it even gets started like many books do. The older classics moved the story along slowly and carefully, building the characters and the plot so you FELT the story. Even top selling books like the Harry Potter Series was 7 books long with the subplots of each book being solved but not the major plot. When it ended- all I felt was a loss because I enjoyed the characters so much. I feel like I have met each one of these characters and look forward to seeing them again. I also like to think things over and the way this book is written gives ME a chance to wonder along with Emma-What happened, why and who is The Girl? I read this one first and that was fine- I wasn't lost, but I dove back into the first two and will now reread this one before moving ahead to Fadeaway Girl. As for me as long as I get to keep reading about Emma and her accomplices I don't care if they ever figure it out. BTW anyone who gets a chance at audio version--Kim Mai Guest is excellent as the reader of this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2009

    Very angry and upset

    I cannot believe that she has written three books about Emma and still there is no ending to the story or solving of the crime. When I complained about this to Ms. Grimes, I was told that a new book would be out in 2011. I asked if this would have an ending and was told they did not know. I advise people not to read the books as they will be very frustrated when they have finished the three books. I kept reading, as I thought the third book would have the solution to the story. When it did not and after the comments from Ms. Grimes, I have decided not to buy any more of her books.

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  • Posted November 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    Really enjoyed this story, the twists, the irony. Yes there is some science, but it's easy to understand. If you can't get it, move on past it, it isn't relevant to the overall plot... isn't this how things happen when we strive to deceive, and most of us believe people are telling us the truth, even when we find inconsistencies, we then try to justify those inconsistencies as fallables of human nature, forgetfulness, distraction, etc. Loved the book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2007

    love emma!

    I thoroughly enjoyed all emma graham mysteries and wish grimes would write more. i still have all the characters and the surrounding landscape clearly in mind. i tryed to 'nurse' each book but couldn't help reading each one as fast as I could. grimes is an incredible writer--you get a great mystery story along with many little stories. can't wait for the next emma story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    a book to get lost in

    I can't see how any one did not love this book. It's like taking a mini vacation from the real world. I love Emma and her take on things, her wit and her wisdom. Maybe others need to stick to more traditional novels, but I can't wait for the next in this series. I haven't quite finished this one yet, and I don't see how all the 'mysteries' will be solved by the end, but to paraphrase Emma, it's the journey there that really counts. I can't wait to read more about Emma's adventures - her quest to get Axel to take her for a taxi ride, her latest alchoholic concoction for Aunt Abigail, her battle's with Ree Jane, Will and Mill's theatrical endeavors, her next imaginary vacation - they are a treat to read, often both funny and sad at the same time. And the fun facts you pick up along the way - never knew 3 Musketeers used to have 3 flavors, or that Mr Ree was a game that pre-dated what we now know as Clue. If you enjoy an intelligent, thoughtful read, this one is all that and still very entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2006


    I've read or listened to most of Martha Grimes¿ books and this book convinces me Martha Grimes the American author of British characters should eliminate Martha Grimes the American author of American characters. ¿stick with Richard & Ambrose. I will not listen to or read the other Emma stories. The author can¿t decide if this book is an epic southern novel, a children¿s Nancy Drew story or what I hoped I was getting when I selected this book - a multi layered, dark and twisting story told by a character that happens to be a child in a mystery for adult audiences. Gail Godwin¿s Southern Family is an excellent example of the southern epic, which is a genre that¿s a `hit or miss¿ pitiless genre ¿ you either `can or can¿t¿ with the southern epic format. Martha Grimes' plots have always contained suspense and intrigue without the loss of continuity and never struck me as indulgent and wordy¿.until now. I¿m at the last disc, disc 10 where Emma¿s thoughts are rambling in an aimless fashion the reader can endure in the beginning, when characters and landscapes must be laid out in context as a skeletal frame work the imagination can claim and expand on, but at this point it¿s false and cryptic and unnecessary. I¿m not sure I care who took the baby or where Ben is. The fact that I¿m on the last few tracks and stopped listening to write this review tells you all you need to know about this book¿I¿ve never posted a review on, but I suggest you pick something else. A tendency for motion sickness forces me to listen to audio books (I¿ve listed to hundreds of excellent works) and as an avid listener I felt Kim Mai Guest (narrator) may improve over time but she¿s too `green¿ for a book that desperately needed the help a veteran audio performer would have leant this work. Emma¿s immaturity and age appropriate personality should have been oral but slightly muted, enhanced and conveyed via technique and inflection. The book¿s short comings combined with the high pitch 12 year old voice tries the nerves of the listener around the 15th chapter of an over 30 chapter book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2006

    A struggle to read

    I agree with previous review saying it's almost impossible to figure out where and when the story takes place. But while I could suppose that author had done it on purpose, what I could not imagine how such an acclaimed author could make such a screaming error in the plot. Almost at the end when Emma talks to Mr. and Mrs. Souder, she asks them about the night the hotel burned down, NOT THE NIGHT OF THE KIDNAPPING. Then Souders answer by saying Yes, they remember and describe Morris Slade and the baby coming to fill the prescription. As was said repeatedly in the book,the two events, kidnapping and fire,happened three years appart!!! I don't think I would like to read any more of Martha Grimes' books or recommend it to others. Characters are not very beleivable, the 'mystery' is not solved and she could not keep the plot straight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2005

    Love the characters!

    I absolutely love both the characters (Emma is a hoot!) and the general ambiance of this novel. Very funny, especially Emma's thoughts about Re-jane and Will's play about Medea in the big garage. I encourage anyone who enjoys reading a book with strong, sympathetic, and quirky characters in a 'homey' setting to read this book, but only after reading 'Hotel Paradise' and 'Cold Flat Junction.' Can't wait for the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2005

    Almost a mystery

    The greatest mystery for me was why other people have found this book so captivating. It seems to end where it began. And if the 'mystery' is solved, I couldn't see how. There is something else going on here, but is it worth figuring out? Is it possible? As others have said, I'll stick to Jury.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2005


    While Kim Mai guest is relatively new to voice performing she sounds like a seasoned pro as she inhabits the voice of 12-year-old sleuth Emma Graham. As many will remember, Emma was introduced by Martha Grimes several years ago with 'Hotel Paradise.' Emma's the youngest cub reporter ever seen on her small town's newspaper and she's more than a bit snoopy and very precocious. Determined to solve any mystery she can unearth, Emma is now fascinated by the ruins of Belle Rouen, a once magnificent resort/hotel not too far from where she lives. The girl yearns to be a star reporter and prove that she's more than a preteener who also works as a waitress in her mother's much-in-need-of repair and redecoration hotel. So, she starts to dig into the history of Belle Rouene, probing prying until she feels she has discovered why it burned to the ground. She also very much wants to solve an almost 50-year-old crime that occurred there. We learned in 'Cold Flat Junction' that Emma can do whatever she sets her mind to, and she does with a little help from a few outre characters. Young listeners will especially enjoy Emma's latest adventure. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2005


    Like the other reviewer said, you must read the other two novels before this one, because Belle Ruin is full of references to the other two books, which I couldn't remember, so it lessened my understanding of things considerably. I stopped reading it less than 50 pages in for that reason, plus I didn't know what era the novel is set in-is it pre-WWII, post WWII, present-day, what? I also was not sure where the book takes place-was it England, a British island, Canada or the US? I don't care to read reviews of books before I read them in order to find out these questions, they should be made clear from the start. I wish Ms. Grimes had taken the time for a little backstory work at the beginning of the novel. I also wasn't captivated by the 12-year old narrator, at times she sounded like an average 12-year-old and other times she sounded way too old to be believable. I'll stick with the Richard Jury mysteries.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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