The Barnes & Noble Review
It's been ages since Richard Jury has seen his old friend, Detective Chief Inspector Mickey Haggerty, and Jury is shocked to find Haggerty in the final stages of a rare cancer that is certain to take his life very soon. Haggerty knows his days are numbered. He's worried about his family. But there's something that's worrying Haggerty even more -- a case that he needs Jury's help to solve.
The case involves two skeletons found in the rubble of The Blue Last pub, and these are no ordinary bones. When forensic experts identify the remains as those of a young woman and infant girl most likely killed during World War II, Haggerty can't help but recall the night The Blue Last was destroyed in the Blitz, and the people who lost their lives there, too.
Indeed, a young woman and child were killed in that bombing, and Haggerty is convinced that the woman's skeleton is what's left of Alexandra Tynedale, daughter of brewing magnate Oliver Tynedale. The discovery of Alexandra's remains after all these years is surprising enough, but it's the child that really interests Haggerty. Because if he's right about the infant's identity, an impostor has perpetrated an outrageous lie on the Tynedale family -- an impostor who's in line to inherit the kind of fortune some people would kill for....
Now, as Richard Jury contemplates his friend's obsession with the Tynedale family and its heirs, the murder of London businessman Simon Croft brings him back once again to Haggerty's bizarre investigation. Was Croft, son of Oliver Tynedale's former business partner and beloved friend of the Tynedales, killed because of something he knew about the woman who claims to be Tynedale's granddaughter? Was the book he was working on about to tell all? Jury thinks so. But nothing can prepare him for the startling truth he is about to uncover -- or the ultimate betrayal that lies at the end of the road....
Reading Grimes's 16th Richard Jury novel (The Case Has Altered, etc.) is like watching a good movie on TV constantly interrupted by commercials. The author used to produce well-crafted, atmospheric works with delightful characters, but in recent years they've become unnecessarily long, overpopulated with minor characters (including Melrose), who take up a lot of time while contributing little to the crime at hand. The premise here is promising enough: the bodies of a woman and an infant turn up in the last unredeveloped bomb site in London (a pub called the Blue Last), victims of the final heavy German bombing of WWII. The woman, identified as Alexandra Tyndale, was the daughter of a wealthy brewing magnate; the infant was the daughter of Alexandra's nanny. Or was the infant, in fact, Alexandra's daughter, whom the nanny swapped with her own child to make her heir to the Tyndale fortune? It's all quite Victorian. Called in by his friend DCI Mickey Haggerty to help on the case, Richard Jury soon finds himself involved with a murder that could be related. Two children, Grimes's usual pathologically precocious tots, enter the action, as does Melrose with a whole subplot of his own. Because of this excess baggage, the reader must wait impatiently for the mystery to resume. A far-fetched solution will satisfy only the author's staunchest fans. 8-city author tour. (Sept. 10) Forecast: Despite the weakness of this title, Grimes is impervious to negative criticism; like others in the series, this one should hit bestseller charts. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Scotland Yard Superintendent Richard Jury agrees to help his old friend Mickey Haggerty by looking into what Mickey suspects is a 50-year-old case of switched identities. The skeletal remains of a woman and infant are found when the last World War II bomb site in London is excavated for a new development. Was the dead infant the baby of Kitty Riordan, Maisie Tynedale's nanny, or was it Maisie herself, the heiress to a brewery fortune? Was there a masquerade? And did writer Simon Croft, recently murdered, discover it? Jury sends his pal Melrose Plant to snoop around Tynedale Lodge as two urchins enter the picture. A separate Plant subplot and the children slow down the story for a while, but eventually the solution is reached. John Lee's reading is purposeful and adds to the suspense of the tale. Recommended. Denise A. Garofalo, Astor Learning Ctr., Rhinebeck, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Benny Keegan, 12, sleeps under Waterloo Bridge and scrapes together a living running errands. His best friend is Gemma Trimm, 9, imaginative ward of elderly magnate Oliver Tynedale. Gemma, who likens herself to Little Nell, claims someone is trying to kill her. But Inspector Richard Jury (The Lamorna Wink) is visiting Tynedale Lodge with other ends: to investigate the murder of Simon Croft, son of Tynedale's friend and partner Francis, and to probe a potential 60-year-old crime uncovered by DCI Mickey Haggerty. London's last bombsite, a pub called The Blue Last, has finally been excavated, revealing the bodies of Tynedale's daughter Alexandra and a baby. Alexandra had been at the pub with Kitty, her nanny, and their very young daughters, Maisie and Erin, respectively. The surviving little girl has grown up as Maisie Tynedale. But Haggerty thinks she is Erin. Would Kitty kill to protect her secret? As usual, Grimes crowds her tale with unexpected characters-there's a chapter told from the perspective of Benny's dog, Sparky-and crisscrossing subplots. Haggerty is rapidly dying of cancer; his wife Liza is Jury's old flame. Haunted by childhood memories of the Blitz, Jury seeks answers about his mother. Meanwhile, his sidekick Melrose Plant journeys to Florence with the obligatory wealthy madcaps to authenticate a work of Renaissance art. It's Benny's five employers, all with colorful backstories, who eventually point Jury and Melrose to the surprising but logical solution. Some of the interweaving is ingenious, though loose ends still dangle. Even so, Grimes's delicious people portraits and elegant prose are as entertaining as ever.