The Grave Maurice (Richard Jury Series #18)

The Grave Maurice (Richard Jury Series #18)

by Martha Grimes

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

$8.99 View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, October 22


"Chew on this," says Melrose Plant to Richard Jury, who's in the hospital being driven crazy by Hannibal, a nurse who likes to speculate on his chances for survival. Jury could use a good story, preferably one not ending with his own demise.

Plant tells Jury of something he overheard in The Grave Maurice, a pub near the hospital. A woman told an intriguing story about a girl named Nell Ryder, granddaughter to the owner of the Ryder Stud Farm in Cambridgeshire, who went missing more than a year before and has never been found. What is especially interesting to Plant is that Nell is also the daughter of Jury's surgeon.

But Nell's disappearance isn't the only mystery at the Ryder farm. A woman has been found dead on the track-a woman who was a stranger even to the Ryders.

But not to Plant. She's the woman he saw in The Grave Maurice. Together with Jury, Nell's family, and the Cambridgeshire police, Plant embarks on a search to find Nell and bring her home. But is there more to their mission than just restoring a fifteen-year-old girl to her family?

The Grave Maurice is the eighteenth entry in the Richard Jury series and, from its pastoral opening to its calamitous end, is full of the same suspense and humor that devoted readers expect from Martha Grimes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451411013
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/2003
Series: Richard Jury Series , #18
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 317,424
Product dimensions: 6.72(w) x 10.88(h) x 1.06(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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.


Washington, DC and Santa Fe, NM

Date of Birth:

May 2, 1931

Place of Birth:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


B.A., M.A., University of Maryland

Read an Excerpt

The Grave Maurice • Copyright 2003 by Martha Grimes • 0-451-41101-3 • Onyx

Melrose Plant looked around the rather grim environs of the Grave Maurice and wondered if it was patronized by the staff of the Royal College of Surgeons up the street. Apparently it did serve as some sort of stopping-off point for them, for Melrose recognized one of the doctors standing at the farther end of the long bar.

As Melrose stood there inside the door, the doctor emptied his half-pint, gathered up his coat and turned to leave. He passed Melrose on his way out of the pub and gave him a distracted nod and a vague smile, as if he were trying to place him.

Melrose stepped up to the place the doctor had left, filling the vacuum. He was looking at the woman close by, one of surpassing beauty—glossy dark hair, high cheekbones, eyes whose color he couldn’t see without staring but which were large and widely spaced. She was talking to another woman, hair a darkish blond, whose back was turned to Melrose and who drank a pale drink, probably a Chardonnay, whose ubiquity, together with the wine bars that loved to serve it up, Melrose couldn’t understand. The dark-haired one was drinking stout. Good for her. The bartender, a bearded Indian, posed an indecipherably query that Melrose could only suppose was a varient of “What will it be, mate?“ The operative term was either “grog“ or “dog,“ as in “Want a bit o’ grog?“ or “Walkin’ yer dog?“ Having no dog, Melrose ordered an Old Peculiar.

The Grave Maurice had its foot in the door of “hovel-like.“ Melrose looked all around and made his assessment, pleased. For some reason, he could always appreciate a hovel; he felt quite at home. The incomprehensible barman, the patched window, the broken table leg, the streaked mirror, the clientele. The two women near him were a cut above the other customers. They were well dressed, the dark-haired one quite fashionably, in a well-cut black suit and understated jewelry. The blond one, whose profile Melrose glimpsed, appeared to know the barman (even to understand the barman) with his raffishly wound turban. After he returned, smilingly, with the refills and Melrose’s fresh drink and then took himself off, the dark-haired woman picked up their conversation again. The blonde was doing the listening.

They were talking about someone named Ryder, which immediately made Melrose prick up his ears, as this was the name of the doctor who had just departed and whom, he supposed, the one woman must have recognized. But he was rather surprised to hear him further referred to as “poor sod.“ The second woman, whose voice was distinct while at the same time being low and unobtrusive, asked the dark-haired one what she meant.

Melrose waited for the answer.

Unfortunately, the details were getting lost in the woman’s lowered voice, but he did catch the word disappeared. The dark-haired woman dipped her head to her glass and said something else that Melrose couldn’t catch.

But then he heard, “His daughter. It was in the papers.“

The blonde seemed appalled. “When was that?“

“Nearly two years ago, but it doesn’t get any—“

Melrose lost the rest of the comment.

The one who had made it shrugged slightly, not a dismissive shrug, but a weary one. Weary, perhaps, of misfortune. If she was a doctor too, Melrose could understand the weariness.

Then she said, “ was my...killed...“

The blonde made a sound of sympathy and said, “How awful. Did—“

If only they’d stop talking clearly on the one hand and whispering on the other! Melrose, who kept telling himself he couldn’t help overhearing this conversation, could, of course, have taken his beer to a table, and he supposed he would if his presence so close beside them got to be a little too noticeable. But he wanted to hear whatever he could about this doctor’s daughter—it sounded fascinating. He thought the phrase poor sod suggested some unhappy tale and he was always up for one of those. Sort of thing that makes you glad you’re you and not them. How morbid.

He then heard something about insurance and the dark-haired woman was going on about South America and warmer climate.

She appeared to be planning a trip. He didn’t care about this; he wanted to hear more about the person who had disappeared. The blonde occasionally turned to retrieve her cigarette, and then Melrose could pick up the drift.

“—this doctor’s daughter?“

The woman facing Melrose nodded. “So it never ends for him...closure.“

“I hate that word,“ said the blonde, with a little laugh.

(Melrose was ready to marry her on the spot. Inwardly, he applauded. He hated the word too.)

“All it means is that something’s unended, unfinished. Why not just say that?“

The blonde was not in the mood for a semantic argument. “There never is, anyway,“ she said, slipping from the stool.

“What?“ The dark-haired woman was puzzled.

“Closure. Everything remains unfinished.“

The dark-haired woman sighed. “Perhaps. Poor Roger.“

Roger Ryder, thought Melrose. When the blonde caught Melrose looking and listening she gave him a rueful half smile. He pretended not to notice, though it would be difficult not to notice that mouth, that hair. Melrose paid for his beer and slid off the stool.

His daughter. Two years ago something had happened to her, and it hadn’t been death. Death would have closed it. The girl had disappeared. Had something happened in South America? No, he thought, that must be another story altogether. On the other hand, Ryder’s daughter disappearance—that had been in the papers. But Melrose wouldn’t have to search the Times.

Roger Ryder was Richard Jury’s surgeon.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Beguiling characters...blissful setting." —The New York Times

"Wickedly will rejoice." —Chattanooga Times-Free Press

"Plenty of wit, danger, and fully rounded characters." —Minneapolis Star-Tribune


The Art of Balance: Martha Grimes on the Place of Issues in a Novel

"Proselytizing" is something I've been accused of before (with respect to Biting the Moon). But in that instance I began with an issue, the issue of animal welfare. In The Grave Maurice I didn't set out to convert readers to a cause. The issue just happened along, and the issue is something called hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has been much in the news lately.

This hardly presents itself as a cracking-good subject for the plot of a mystery novel. But it's there (in the subplot) because I stumbled onto it and realized it exactly fits the case of the young heroine who's been raised on a stud farm in Cambridgeshire and who is, consequently, an ardent lover of horses -- what some would call a "horse-whisperer" (although I believe it's the horse, not the human, who is the whisperer).

The news is telling women to get rid of this junk (HRT) because of its effect on the body, always before believed to be salutary, lately found to be malign. All sorts of warnings attach to such drugs now. What we are not hearing, and what animal-rights people have known for a long time, is the back story. I find it strange that the "media," ever alert to what is trashy or tragic, have not reported this. It's a perfect subject for "investigative" journalism: the source of the hormones is pregnant mares' urine. Premarin. Get it? It's the conditions under which these mares are kept -- front and back leg tethered to prevent movement -- in order to produce this hormone that is so appalling; even more appalling is what happens to the foals. Don't worry, there are no graphic descriptions of what happens to the mares and the foals in The Grave Maurice.

I didn't set out to write The Grave Maurice with the intention of converting readers to a cause; the topic of HRT simply presented itself in the course of the writing. I would certainly agree it's difficult to write a book whose theme is some sort of social issue without letting the issue overwhelm the story (i.e., "proselytizing"). I did this in another Richard Jury novel, The Deer Leap. What can happen is that either the story itself detracts from the issue -- and thus the reader barely notices it -- or the issue overwhelms the story, equally bad. So one has to strike a balance between the two, and in this case, if there is any "imbalance" it's on the side of the story, not the issue. A perfect example of keeping things in balance is John Grisham, every one of whose novels centers on a social issue -- the tobacco companies, the insurance companies, the homeless -- and I don't think Mr. Grisham has ever been accused of preaching.

Richard Jury seems to be placed in ever-darker situations. The Blue Last was almost a blackout, and I don't suppose The Grave Maurice is much happier. I really balk at the expectations of some people that a piece of genre fiction should have an upbeat ending.

I don't know. How many upbeat endings have you had? Martha Grimes

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Grave Maurice (Richard Jury Series #18) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again Martha Grimes has left me begging for more. She never disappoints. I read it in one day, just could not put it down.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Scotland Yard Superintendent Richard Jury lies in the hospital recovering from the near fatal shooting (see THE BLUE LAST) that left him in a coma. As he slowly begins to feel a little better, Richard is bored with inactivity, needs distraction, and struggles to ignore his starchy nurse.

Richard¿s assistant Melrose Plant provides the recuperating cop with a juicy tidbit that he overheard in the Grave Maurice Pub involving the daughter of the doctor tending to the injured law enforcement official. Two female patrons were discussing the disappearance of fifteen year old Nell Ryder and her family¿s valuable thoroughbred Aqueduct. The case of the teen¿s disappearance is officially cold, but Richard and Melrose begin discussing it. Soon the latter begins investigating the vanishing under Richard¿s bedside direction.

The latest Jury police procedural depends too much on coincidence and horse breeding than on hard core investigative skills, but fans of the series will enjoy seeing the star returning to his feisty self. Though the mystery is a bit weak as Jury novels go, Melrose and Nurse Bell make the tale fun for readers with their radically different personalities playing the stage through Richard. Predominantly for Martha Grimes¿ fans, THE GRAVE MAURICE is overall an entertaining tale, just a pint short of what the audience expects from this talented author.

Harriet Klausner

brochettes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not sure about this one. I liked parts of it, but all in all I couldn't really get into it- the characters were all a bit flat, and the plucky-young-child/ teenage-person (beautiful of course, no acne breakouts or gawkiness here)-with-tragic-past/ future- thing is beginning to get a little tiresome. It would be nice to come accross a sympathetic teenage character who acts like one, is not wise beyond their years, and whose story is still worth telling.Oh well, I guess that is bitterness speaking- the feelings of someone who was a wholly unremarkable, cliched teenager...
macha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this one was most entertaining. Jury doesn't appear for long stretches till near the end, but we learn quite a lot about the character and modus operandi of Melrose Plant, which is rather endearing, and his motley assortment of hangers-on are well deployed. definitely the funniest of the series; i often laughed out loud. the plot is long and complex, but all the characters are finely drawn.
claude_lambert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Of all the living mystery writers, Martha Grimes has the most style. A lovely writing said the Chicago Tribune, and it is true. Her usual heroes, the unhappy detective Jury and his aristocratic friend Melrose are as fascinating as was Peter Wimsey in the old books of Dorothy Sawyers. Slightly but pleasantly old-fashioned. And this is the best of the 17 Jury novels she had published this far. I read them all. People who write a lot of thrillers, like Connelly, Sandford or Kellerman, tend to become gloomy with time. It is part of the job, and Grimes does not escape it. So, this is an excellent book that I recommend, but I will never read another one. I suddenly understood that Grimes was going to kill the only nice people she describes. No more gloom for me, give me young writer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Writing is intelligent, characters are engaging. Fun reading. Jury is easy to like, Plant is delicious, and the other regulars are welcome diversions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been impressed by MG's style so far and intend to read all of her Richard Jury Novels in the future. However in the 'Grave Maurice' she makes a rare but huge mistake. She quotes the famous horse 'Red Rum' having won the Derby 3 times. If Martha had carefully done her homework and research like she normally does she would have realized that Red Rum was a champion Steeplechase racehorse and the famous race in question was in fact 'The Grand National'. The Derby which is the Blue Ribbon race for 3 year old thoroughbred colts is held annually at Epsom Downs Race Course in Surrey. The Grand National is held at 'Aintree',Liverpool and Red Rum's remains are buried within the winners circle. Red Rum would never have been entered into the Derby as (a) When it won the Grand National the first time it was already approx 4 or 5 years old, and (b) Red Rum was a steeplechaser, which means it would have been jumping fences and not a flat racing horse as depicted by Martha Grimes. This book is about 5 years old so I am sure this oversight has already been pointed out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Personally, I don't care for the author's writing style. I found the basic premise of the story to be totally unbelievable; I just couldn't 'buy into' this book. I do like sci-fi and other books not based in reality, but the characters in this book were not believable. Perhaps part of the reason is that one whole chapter seems to be out Dorothy Sayers book. Even Grime's Mr. Plant smacks of Lord Peter Wimsey.
ykx86 More than 1 year ago
I've never read Grimes' books before. Only picked this up based on other reviews on her Richard Jury Series. I found myself not able to get into the story at all. Not a big fan of her writing style either. There were chapters of random stories on supporting characters who I found uninteresting, couldn't appreciate the humors either even though the book is punctuated with these attempts through out. The plot line itself is weak, nothing very mysterious or thrilling. The few times just when I managed to immerse in the plot the story gets diverted to the supporting characters and their narratives.