The Man with a Load of Mischief (Richard Jury Series #1)

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Overview

At the Man with a Load of Mischief, they found the dead body stuck in a keg of beer. At the Jack and Hammer, another body was stuck out on the beam of the pub’s sign, replacing the mechanical man who kept the time. Two pubs. Two murders. One Scotland Yard inspector called in to help. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury arrives in Long Piddleton and finds everyone in the postcard village looking outside of town for the killer. Except for one Melrose Plant. A keen observer of human nature, he points Jury in the ...

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Overview

At the Man with a Load of Mischief, they found the dead body stuck in a keg of beer. At the Jack and Hammer, another body was stuck out on the beam of the pub’s sign, replacing the mechanical man who kept the time. Two pubs. Two murders. One Scotland Yard inspector called in to help. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury arrives in Long Piddleton and finds everyone in the postcard village looking outside of town for the killer. Except for one Melrose Plant. A keen observer of human nature, he points Jury in the right direction: into the darkest parts of his neighbors’ hearts…

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“For readers who value wit, atmosphere and charm.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“Grimes captures the flavor of British village life…Long may she write Richard Jury mysteries.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“[Grimes’s novel] is cast in the mold of the great British mysteries and comes complete with all the classic elements.”—The San Diego Union
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451410818
  • Publisher: Onyx
  • Publication date: 1/21/2003
  • Series: Richard Jury Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 205,967
  • Product dimensions: 6.72 (w) x 4.24 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha  Grimes

Martha Grimes is the bestselling author of eighteen Richard Jury mysteries and also the acclaimed fiction Foul Matter, Cold Flat Junction, Hotel Paradise, The End of the Pier, and The Train Now Departing.

Biography

"No, I'm not English, but nothing quickens my imagination more than a fog-bound moor, windy heath, river mist in an old fishing village, and the names of British pubs like The Stargazey," Martha Grimes has written, and it's this quirk of hers that has made her one of the best loved modern practitioners of the venerable whodunit.

All of the titles in Grimes's bestselling Richard Jury series are taken from actual pubs, and all of them feature said pub in some fashion. "I can imagine the end of British hope and glory, but not the end of the British pub," she explains. So, too, it is hard to imagine the end of these deft, witty mysteries, begun in 1981 with The Man with a Load of Mischief, featuring a lugubrious Scotland Yard superintendent (Jury) and his art-collecting sidekick (Melrose Plant).

Grimes has a particular talent for combining heavy gloom with an unmistakable humor that's as subtle and dry as a soda cracker – a good thing, since the Jury casebook tends to be dark, twisted, and rather gruesome. But she always infuses her characters with human motivations and is careful to set up a chain of clues that ultimately discloses them. In addition, she's been known to thread in an unlikely theme here and there – NFL football, poetry references, animal rights, even hormone replacement therapy.

It's clear that Grimes likes to stretch her legs a bit, bringing Jury and his eccentric friends Stateside for a few cases and occasionally foraying beyond the series with novellas, standalones, and some interconnected literary fiction featuring teenage heroines. No doubt these changes of pace help keep the author's skills sharp and honed and ensure for her a wider and more growing readership.

Good To Know

Unlike many mystery writers, Grimes does not outline her plots ahead of time or even profess to know where they are headed when she begins writing. "I am not overly concerned with plot as such," she explains on her web site. "Obviously, if you start with a chapter such as the one above and intend the story to proceed from it, you could write yourself into a corner. I always do. In The Case Has Altered, I didn't know until I was nearly finished with it who had killed these women or why."

Grimes's father was city solicitor of Pittsburgh, and her mother owned a hotel in western Maryland. As a girl, she spent half her time in Pittsburgh and the other half at her mother's hotel in a little town called Mountain Lake Park.

Although her western Maryland-set series that began with The End of the Pier has earned its own fans, there's no denying that for most Grimes readers, it's all about Jury. If she needed a reminder of this, she got one in the loads of hate mail she received for abandoning Richard Jury to write Pier.

Grimes has taught creative writing at various colleges, including the small Maryland community school Montgomery College and the more prestigious Johns Hopkins University. Comparing the two in a Washington Post interview, the mordant Grimes noted of JHU, "Not one pompous ass in the whole program ... The pompous asses are at Montgomery College."

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    1. Hometown:
      Washington, DC and Santa Fe, NM
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 2, 1931
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., M.A., University of Maryland
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    Great Mystery

    I am reading this series for the second time and Martha Grimes is once again providing me with a good mystery. Her characters come to life and her plots are intriguing. This is a wonderful gift for a mystery lover who is new to Martha Grimes; the gift is exponential as she is a prolific writer.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This Is a Good Read

    The first Martha Grimes book I read was "The Winds of Change", and though I didn't particularly like the pedophile theme, I fell in love with Richard Jury. I later ran across "The Old Wine Shades" and realized there was a whole series of Richard Jury stories! Yeah!!! I read yet another out of sequence, and finally decided that I wanted to start at the beginning to learn how Jury and his friends met, and read all of the stories in order. While I did really enjoy this book, it has more "old English" verbiage than the later books, and I found some of it to be a little tedious and even difficult to read. In one chapter there was one whole paragraph that I didn't understand, but it didn't really affect the story, so I just continued to read. It's not as intense as some mysteries, and not as graphic as some crime novels, but it's colorful and interesting, and worth the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book

    My sister gave me this book to read. (my sister is a reader) Ive read the entire series and this book is a wonderful beginning. I have the biggest crush on Richard Jury. What a wonderful lead character and the supporting characters are great to. I love books that I can escape into and this is one of those kinds of books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2009

    If you enjoy English mysteries...

    I had never read any books by Martha Grimes before, and I'm glad I read this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You are given a glimpse into Jury's character and personality, and his sidekick Melrose Plant is a perfect foil. This story proves that even in a small village, 'still waters run deep'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Too old fashioned

    I liked Agatha Christie, but this was too much old British writing. My parents say they like them, but it's too much for me.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    A favorite series

    Such a fun series. I love the regular characters and wish I could sit down with them in the pub.

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    Posted September 10, 2009

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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    Posted May 9, 2009

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