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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Martha Grimes's 20th installment of her Richard Jury mystery saga (The Old Silent, The Old Contemptibles, et al.) finds the inquisitive New Scotland Yard detective superintendent with plenty of time on his hands after being put on indefinite leave of absence for making a procedurally improper decision.
Stopping by a tavern called The Old Wine Shades to knock back a few pints, Jury meets a well-to-do man named Harry Johnson, who recounts a bizarre story about how his friend's wife, son, and dog all suddenly vanished without a trace and how, nine months later, the dog inexplicably reappeared. During the course of a long conversation that includes hours of wild speculation about the friend's missing family (as well as digressions into such matters as quantum mathematics, superstring theory, Schrödinger's cat, Henry James and the power of a good story, and parallel worlds!), Jury becomes intrigued by Johnson's improbable tale. Then a woman resembling the vanished wife is found murdered, and Jury realizes that what he heard from Johnson is just the beginning of a sinister mystery.
Like a set of Russian nesting dolls, The Old Wine Shades is a brilliantly crafted story within a story within a story; with more tangents than a high school geometry textbook, this delightfully offbeat and sharp-witted installment of Grimes's popular series is highly recommended for any and all discerning fans of British whodunits à la Ruth Rendell and P. D. James. There is most definitely trouble afoot… Paul Goat Allen