Grimes's latest "Richard Jury" mystery (after Vertigo 42) is a salute to those who drive the famous black cabs of London after passing the rigorous training course known as the Knowledge. The story begins with a glamorous couple, having emerged from the back of a black taxi, being gunned down in front of an exclusive London casino/art gallery. The shooter then gets in the cab and demands to be driven to several sites around London. He is followed by a clutch of cabbies and a gaggle of children who keep tabs on him, including the redoubtable ten-year-old Patty Haigh, who cajoles her way aboard a flight to Africa in pursuit of the killer. Before it's all resolved, readers are introduced to the erratic streets of London, astrophysics, the blue gemstone tanzanite, and the comfort of first-class travel on Emirates Airlines. VERDICT Fans of Richard Jury should enjoy this new entry. Others will find a convoluted plot enlivened by fetching bit players, especially Patty, who comes equipped with a backpack overflowing with wigs, glitter, multiple pairs of glasses, and enough chutzpah to make even Baby Rose Marie look sedate. [Library marketing; five-city tour.]—Bob Lunn, Kansas City, MO
Robbie Parsons is one of London’s finest, a black cab driver who knows every street, every theater, every landmark in the city by heart. In his backseat is a man with a gun in his hand—a man who brazenly committed a crime in front of the Artemis Club, a rarefied art gallery-cum-casino, then jumped in and ordered Parsons to drive. As the criminal eventually escapes to Nairobi, Detective Superintendent Richard Jury comes across the case in the Saturday paper.
Two days previously, Jury had met and instantly connected with one of the victims of the crime, a professor of astrophysics at Columbia and an expert gambler. Feeling personally affronted, Jury soon enlists Melrose Plant, Marshall Trueblood, and his whole gang of merry characters to contend with a case that takes unexpected turns into Tanzanian gem mines, a closed casino in Reno, Nevada, and a pub that only London’s black cabbies, those who have “the knowledge,” can find. The Knowledge is prime fare from “one of the most fascinating mystery writers today” (Houston Chronicle).
Great characters who say and do the most unexpected things are [Grimes's] stock in trade. The charmer here is 10-year-old Patty Haigh ("looks like a little girl, but acts like MI6"), one of a group of loosely parented children who hang around the stations at Waterloo and Heathrow, practicing the skills needed to be cops.
The shooting death of American physicist David Moffitt and his wife, Rebecca, outside the Artemis Club, an exclusive London casino and art gallery, propels MWA Grand Master Grimes’s solid 24th mystery featuring Scotland Yard’s Det. Supt. Richard Jury (after 2014’s Vertigo 42). Jury reads about the crime in the newspaper the next day. Meanwhile, a gritty version of the Baker Street Irregulars, children who hang out at train stations and Heathrow and act as informants, have the shooter in their sights; 10-year-old Patty Haigh befriends the killer and accompanies him to Nairobi, Kenya, where Melrose Plant, one of Jury’s team, soon follows. Jury’s investigation centers on gem smuggling, tax dodging, and greed. The real mystery is how to find a cab drivers’ pub, the Knowledge, so secret that even Scotland Yard can’t force its patrons to reveal its location. Though the plot gets a bit muddled midway through, readers will appreciate the elements that have made this a long-running bestselling series, notably a complicated case and distinctive characters. Agent: Steve Sheppard, Cowen Debaets Abrahams & Sheppard. (Apr.)
Advance praise for The Knowledge:"Martha Grimes delivers an outstanding police procedural...Readers will find it hard to put the book down; all will be drawn in from the first sentence. This may be Martha Grimes’ finest Richard Jury mystery to date." Bookreporter“Jury’s investigation centers on gem smuggling, tax dodging, and greed. The real mystery is how to find a cab drivers’ pub, the Knowledge, so secret that even Scotland Yard can’t force its patrons to reveal its location . . . Readers will appreciate the elements that have made this a long-running bestselling series, notably a complicated case and distinctive characters.”Publishers Weekly“Grimes’ twenty-fourth mystery starring Richard Jury gets off to a breakneck start . . . Jury’s devoted readership will find much to enjoy.”Booklist Praise for Martha Grimes and the Richard Jury mystery series: “Delightful, surprising, even magical. They begin as police proceduralssomeone is murdered, Jury investigatesbut Grimes’s love of the offbeat, the whimsical and the absurd makes them utterly unlike anyone else’s detective novels . . . Although Grimes is American she has a wicked eye for English eccentricity . . . Original, civilized and witty novels that . . . truly are novel and, once come upon, they can become necessary.”Washington Post, on Dust “Delicious . . . A prime example of Grimes’ skill at balancing the serious with the lighthearted . . . Jury and his posse are terrific companions . . . Delightful.”Seattle Times, on Vertigo 42 “Intricate and entertaining . . . A delicious puzzle.”Boston Globe, on The Horse You Came In On “Wondrously eccentric characters . . . The details are divine.”New York Times Book Review, on The Stargazey “Swift and satisfying . . . grafts the old-fashioned ‘Golden Age’ amateur-detective story to the contemporary police procedural . . . real charm.”Wall Street Journal, on The Lamorna Wink “The literary equivalent of a box of Godiva truffles . . . Wonderful.”Los Angeles Times, on The Stargazey “Witty, atmospheric mysteries . . . Simply heaven.”Denver Post, on The Stargazey “Read any one [of her novels] and you’ll want to read them all.”Chicago Tribune “Grimes is not the next Dorothy Sayers, not the next Agatha Christie. She is better than both.”Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Grimes is superlative at describing the physical world . . . And, when Grimes takes us into interiors, whether it’s a posh country home or a down-at-the-heels flat, she is like Dickens in linking human character to habitat . . . A stellar series.”Kirkus Reviews, on Vertigo 42
Detective Superintendent Richard Jury (Vertigo 42, 2014, etc.) joins with the usual friends and relations and a covey of London black cab drivers to unravel a spectacularly public double murder.Moments after cabbie Robbie Parsons drops American astrophysicist David Moffit and his beautiful British wife, Rebecca, in front of the Artemis Club, the exclusive casino/art gallery run by enterprising Leonard Zane, a man steps out of nowhere and shoots the two visitors dead. Even more remarkably, he gets into Robbie's cab, takes it to Waterloo Station, and catches a train to Heathrow without breaking a sweat. Unbeknownst to his passenger, Robbie has alerted his buddies in the black-cab network, and one of them, Patty Haigh, follows the shooter, steals a ticket for his flight to Dubai, chats him up, and ends up traveling in the next first-class pod. Patty, the latest in a long line of Grimes' tough, unflappable, endlessly resourceful preteen female heroes, reflects of her companion, who's booked passage under the name Bushiri Banerjee, that "for somebody who shoots people, he was pretty nice." Meanwhile, back in London, Jury is dispatching his old friend Melrose Plant to Nairobi, where Banerjee has flown from Dubai, and planted antiques dealer Marshall Trueblood as a dealer in the Artemis Club while Jury himself tries to figure out why Banerjee felt the need to shoot both Moffits and how their murders might be connected to the remarkably coincidental shooting of one Danny Morrissey in the Metropole, the Reno hotel Zane also owned, eight years ago. Many more coincidences will follow—some actually coincidental, others not so much—seriously denting but never wrecking the mystery at the core of a whimsically digressive adventure in which Jury has to fight for attention, let alone resolution.Grimes' endlessly fertile imagination conjures up new people, places, and episodes that you'll want to hear all about however tangential they end up being to the dubious case that's supposed to tie them all together.
Read an Excerpt
He was a dead man and he knew it.
As soon as he ceased to be of any use to this bastard, the guy would shoot him.
So Robbie Parsons had to keep on being of use.
He was glad he’d earned his medallion; he was grateful for all of those months of routing and re-routing himself around London that had qualified him to drive a black cab.
Robbie had maps in his mind. He would entertain himself, while cruising around looking for a fare, by setting destinations involving landmarks he would either have to pass or not pass in the course of getting to a certain location. Maps in his mind, so no matter where this black guy told him to go (and he’d told him nothing thus far), Robbie knew how to take the longest way round without raising suspicions. The guy behind him wasn’t a Londoner, but then most Londoners didn’t know sod-all about London, anyway.