The Old Contemptibles

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A passionate affair comes to a crashing halt when Richard Jury's lover is found dead. And since Jury is himself a suspect, he must send Melrose Plant to her family's Lake District home, where secrets that rise to the surface threaten to pull the contentious clan under.

Publishers Weekly

Richard Jury, London police superintendent, is a suspect himself in Grimes's 11th mystery named after English pubs--this one in the Lake District of poets Wordsworth and Coleridge. Jury is considering marriage to recently met widow Jane Holdsworth at the moment her teenaged son Alex finds her dead, apparently a suicide. Alex runs away, and Jury, required, as a suspect, to remain in London, sends old friend Melrose Plant up to the Lakes to learn what he can about the wealthy Holdsworth family, among whom Jane's death is the fourth suspicious one. Eccentric, appealing characters hold this scattershot plot together. Best are vulnerable, brave and preternaturally bright youngsters Alex, who cheats at poker and the horses brilliantly, and 11-year-old orphan Millie Thale, who cooks at Holdsworth manse and broods over her own mother's unexpected death five years before. Equally vivid are two residents at a nearby rest home for the wealthy elderly: sly Adam Holdsworth, who holds the pursestrings that tie the tale together, and his elegant foxy friend, the perceptive and kleptomaniacal Lady Cray. While the villain's exposure and motivation are inadequately developed, the tale's dramatic conclusion, the lowering setting and its entertaining denizens provide full compensation. (Jan.)

Author : Martha Grimes

Publisher : Ballantine Books

Published Year : 1992

Format : Mass Market Paperback, 293 pages

Dimensions : 4.20 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.88 (d)

ISBN : 0345374568

ISBN13 : 9780345374561

Overview :

"The author keeps us enthralled with the rich interior and exterior lives of her characters in this emotionally stormy family saga."
When Scotland Yard superintendent Richard Jury is drawn into a brief affair with a troubled widow named Jane Holdsworth, her subsequent death makes him a suspect in her murder. Unable to leave London, Jury sends Melrose Plant, eighth Earl of Caverness to the Lake District to pry open the Holdsworth family's locked box of secrets. Plant does what he is bidden, in his own particular style, and what he uncovers is a shocking sheaf of surprises about the death-prone Holdsworth clan and its growing number of orphans....
"As always, Grimes' characters are gems, and her writting is as witty as ever."
Selected by the Literary Guild and the Mystery Guild

Grimes' British-based whodunits are all have been authentic successes with American readers. Scotland Yard Superintendent Richard Jury is drawn into a passionate affair--and becomes a suspect in a murder investigation. "Grimes' characters are gems. . . ."--USA Today.