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Two pubs. Two murders. One chocolate-box village convinced of its own perfection - until now. Long Piddleton is an unlikely setting for a crime, and yet it's the scene of two. With one dead body upended in a keg of beer at The Man with a Load of Mischief, and another swinging from the sign above the Jack and Hammer, tensions are high, and Scotland Yard's Richard Jury is Two pubs. Two murders. One chocolate-box village convinced of its own perfection - until now. Long Piddleton is an unlikely setting for a crime, and yet it's the scene of two. With one dead body upended in a keg of beer at The Man with a Load of Mischief, and another swinging from the sign above the Jack and Hammer, tensions are high, and Scotland Yard's Richard Jury is called in to calm the waters.On arrival, Jury finds himself confronted by a community spooked by the idea that the murderer could be amongst them. That is, apart from Melrose Plant - the eighth Earl of Caverness and a keen observer of human nature whose astute eye directs Jury's investigation straight into the heart of the village, leaving the community questioning everything they ever thought they knew and trusted.


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Two pubs. Two murders. One chocolate-box village convinced of its own perfection - until now. Long Piddleton is an unlikely setting for a crime, and yet it's the scene of two. With one dead body upended in a keg of beer at The Man with a Load of Mischief, and another swinging from the sign above the Jack and Hammer, tensions are high, and Scotland Yard's Richard Jury is Two pubs. Two murders. One chocolate-box village convinced of its own perfection - until now. Long Piddleton is an unlikely setting for a crime, and yet it's the scene of two. With one dead body upended in a keg of beer at The Man with a Load of Mischief, and another swinging from the sign above the Jack and Hammer, tensions are high, and Scotland Yard's Richard Jury is called in to calm the waters.On arrival, Jury finds himself confronted by a community spooked by the idea that the murderer could be amongst them. That is, apart from Melrose Plant - the eighth Earl of Caverness and a keen observer of human nature whose astute eye directs Jury's investigation straight into the heart of the village, leaving the community questioning everything they ever thought they knew and trusted.

30 review for The Man With a Load of Mischief

  1. 5 out of 5

    C.

    I was surprised to learn a new word before reading this. It is me to a tee: "a completionist". It explains how I shop. I click into "collect every kind" mode. Over ten years, I filled in all but "The Man With A Load Of Mischief", 1981. Having started with the loveable Melrose Plant and Richard Jury, I am keen about the next; goodness knowing I own it and expect authors to improve! Series aside, it is why I go in order of release. By the end of this novel, the construction of Martha Grimes' chara I was surprised to learn a new word before reading this. It is me to a tee: "a completionist". It explains how I shop. I click into "collect every kind" mode. Over ten years, I filled in all but "The Man With A Load Of Mischief", 1981. Having started with the loveable Melrose Plant and Richard Jury, I am keen about the next; goodness knowing I own it and expect authors to improve! Series aside, it is why I go in order of release. By the end of this novel, the construction of Martha Grimes' characters pays off. There were hilarious quips I re-read to titter over anew. When Melrose organizes a theatre scene to show how the pinnacle of crimes started, his Aunt Agatha gripes over her short role and I could hear Melrose retorting: "We aren't trying for the Royal Shakespeare Company! Just do your parts"! It is the only quip that surpassed his and his butler's explosion over Agatha's mispronounced names. Martha proved an excellent plotter. All information factored into her mystery. The story is original: three strangers in different pubs. Why kill strangers? The motives fit superbly, filled in plausibly when an old employee is searched out. There are gratifying clues to explore. With countless series at home I can't guarantee liking, I am making rounds with first novels, to lift that mystery for myself. I call Martha a success. I ended her début feeling I could become a fan but can't overlook that it was tedious for quite a while. Agatha's prattling received cumbersome airtime and chapters of description were heavy-handed to the point of superfluity, at first. Vivian was lovely, Richard's interactions with the Double children boosted his endearing personality, and I for one would relish sitting down to the vicar's pub name lore!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    It's hard to believe I've never read a Richard Jury mystery. But, this is my first, but won't be my last. I loved it. This the first book in the series. Jury is with Scotland Yard. He gets called into a small village after two murders have been committed. Jury makes friends with Melrose Plant, who is a big help in the investigation. I presume Plant will work with Jury again someday. Grimes sets up a great, keeps you guessing, who done it. The author has a great sense of humor as well. I loved the It's hard to believe I've never read a Richard Jury mystery. But, this is my first, but won't be my last. I loved it. This the first book in the series. Jury is with Scotland Yard. He gets called into a small village after two murders have been committed. Jury makes friends with Melrose Plant, who is a big help in the investigation. I presume Plant will work with Jury again someday. Grimes sets up a great, keeps you guessing, who done it. The author has a great sense of humor as well. I loved the banter between Plant. and his Aunt Agatha. Martha Grimes is American, but writes British mysteries right up there with the heavy hitters. A+

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    4.5 stars- Oh my why has this series escaped me until now? A truly engaging and tantalizing British mystery, especially since it has an American author, includes even a grainy sketched map! Inspector Jury is an introspective and intelligent detective and I so look forward to the next book, assuming Melrose Plant will complement his detections! They are a delightful pair in this delicious sundae of a mystery, the antagonizing relationship between Melrose and his Aunt Agatha is the whipped cream a 4.5 stars- Oh my why has this series escaped me until now? A truly engaging and tantalizing British mystery, especially since it has an American author, includes even a grainy sketched map! Inspector Jury is an introspective and intelligent detective and I so look forward to the next book, assuming Melrose Plant will complement his detections! They are a delightful pair in this delicious sundae of a mystery, the antagonizing relationship between Melrose and his Aunt Agatha is the whipped cream and the sweet children, the Doubles (James and his sister James) are the little cherry on top!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Will North

    You know you are in the hands of a master when a mystery is simultaneously complex, lyrically-written, character-rich...and hilarious. This was Grimes's first in the Jury series and she went on from strength to strength which, given how much time she must have spent in the pubs for which each book is named, is almost miraculous! In as sense, Grimes mysteries are character studies, and what a cast of regular characters she creates, from thoughtful and handsome Inspector Richard Jury and his hypoc You know you are in the hands of a master when a mystery is simultaneously complex, lyrically-written, character-rich...and hilarious. This was Grimes's first in the Jury series and she went on from strength to strength which, given how much time she must have spent in the pubs for which each book is named, is almost miraculous! In as sense, Grimes mysteries are character studies, and what a cast of regular characters she creates, from thoughtful and handsome Inspector Richard Jury and his hypochondriac sidekick, Sergeant Wiggins, to the rest of the denizens of the village of Long Piddleton (the name alone is a clue) and it's resident toff, Melrose Plant who has relinquished his title as Lord Ardry. Somehow, he becomes Jury's friend, partner in detection, and handy stand in for Jury at key moments. The full range of the quirky characters who hang out at the title pub is too long to mention and indeed they grow as the series continues from this auspicious start. But I am always glad to once again make their acquaintance. Suffice it to say that surprises, and also chuckles, appear on almost every page. As a British murder mystery writer myself, I own every book in the series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I have been planning on reading this author for years. I am very glad I finally did. At first I thought it was going to be the Holmes-watson style. The genius amateur detective helps the less brilliant Police Inspector. This was not the case, both men are intelligent and capable. Richard Jury is a fascinating character. You learn quickly he is intelligent and very good at his job. Melrose Plant is a very interesting character, someone who is clever and has all the advantageous anyone could hope fo I have been planning on reading this author for years. I am very glad I finally did. At first I thought it was going to be the Holmes-watson style. The genius amateur detective helps the less brilliant Police Inspector. This was not the case, both men are intelligent and capable. Richard Jury is a fascinating character. You learn quickly he is intelligent and very good at his job. Melrose Plant is a very interesting character, someone who is clever and has all the advantageous anyone could hope for. I think my favorite character's were the comic Wiggins, a hypochondriac, and Lady Ardry who is aggravating to the extreme. The murder, who dispatches five victims, was not hard to figure out, but the wonderful characters and style of writing held one interested to the end. Highly recommend this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    3.5 stars Well now, this a nearly 40-year-old mystery, a debut novel, the first in a long-running series, and new to me. As a British crime series, it’s in the genre that’s my reading cocaine. Despite not quite knowing how to take the over-the-top aspects of the novel, including naming conventions and dispositions of bodies (satire, farce, irony, whimsy?), and sophomoric aspects to the unfolding of the clues, I found it readable enough and a largely competent mystery. My disappointment is in the 3.5 stars Well now, this a nearly 40-year-old mystery, a debut novel, the first in a long-running series, and new to me. As a British crime series, it’s in the genre that’s my reading cocaine. Despite not quite knowing how to take the over-the-top aspects of the novel, including naming conventions and dispositions of bodies (satire, farce, irony, whimsy?), and sophomoric aspects to the unfolding of the clues, I found it readable enough and a largely competent mystery. My disappointment is in the characters, with the two male protagonists being largely indistinguishable except one drives a Bentley and the other commands some police resources. Not related or known to each other before being thrown together by the circumstances of the crimes, they are both remarkably clever, good looking, sensible, insightful, and sought by the ladies, they stand in contrast with the bulk of the other characters who range in degrees of ineffectiveness from cringe-worthy, social climbing, poseur aunt to hot and nervous secretary-mistress to dim and beleaguered bar wench and vilified hypochondriac police underling. I don’t think there was a female character who wasn’t pitiable or despicable or both. The male characters were fairly acceptable or redeemable for the most part, but all pretty sad dudes compared to our unintentionally twinned protagonists. There’s potential here and I expect I’ll continue at some point to see what development there is in the series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I listened to this on my bedside clock, which says something for the fun technology of today. [An Amazon Echo, to be precise, and surprisingly good at reading kindle books aloud, if anyone's looking for text to speech options.] The first in a very long-running mystery series. Each book is titled with the name of an English pub, and this particular outing is themed on the same topic. Relatively progressive for 1981, although several marks off for the seeming obsession with the food eaten by the co I listened to this on my bedside clock, which says something for the fun technology of today. [An Amazon Echo, to be precise, and surprisingly good at reading kindle books aloud, if anyone's looking for text to speech options.] The first in a very long-running mystery series. Each book is titled with the name of an English pub, and this particular outing is themed on the same topic. Relatively progressive for 1981, although several marks off for the seeming obsession with the food eaten by the comic relief fat character. Since she (in the orbit of Jury's new friend) is likely to be a recurring character, I'll be interested to see whether Grimes progresses her to actual humanity, rather than being the butt of all jokes. [She's not a nice person, but her main sins seem to be being fat, being jealous of a relative's enormous wealth, and being hungry for attention/praise.] Will probably continue with the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    IslandRiverScribe

    This is the first novel in Martha Grimes’ long-running British police procedural series featuring Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. The book was originally published in 1981 so the reader must realize from the outset that there will be no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no pocket-sized personal cameras to aid in solving the murder. It will be an eyes, ears, brain and door-to-door investigation. And, the author makes more than the identity of the murderer a mystery. First, she giv This is the first novel in Martha Grimes’ long-running British police procedural series featuring Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. The book was originally published in 1981 so the reader must realize from the outset that there will be no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no pocket-sized personal cameras to aid in solving the murder. It will be an eyes, ears, brain and door-to-door investigation. And, the author makes more than the identity of the murderer a mystery. First, she gives us a day and date on which our story begins, but she does not provide us with the year. Based on the structure of the dialog in the first few chapters, this story could be taking place anytime since the turn into the twentieth century. However, she does give us clues to narrow it down and a not-so-quick trip or two through Google helped me out there, a trick that readers back in 1981 could not execute. But, then again, those clues would have been far more familiar to a reader of that time anyway. Secondly, the author describes all the suspects and secondary characters in fine detail but fails to provide us with much of anything in the way of a physical description for our two protagonists. It took the entirety of the first three chapters just to glean that Plant wears gold-rimmed spectacles on a fine nose, is in his early 40’s, has green eyes, is single and is “not terribly handsome, but handsome enough, not terribly tall but tall enough.” And as far as Jury, our main protagonist, is concerned, there is nothing beyond the fact that he is in his early 40’s, single and childless – no hair color, no eye color, no body build, nothing. Thirdly, the author gives us very little backstory for either Plant or Jury. We seem to encounter them in the 40th year of their lives, fully made, with just the barest hints of painful events in each of their pasts. The intimations are presented just often enough to make the reader believe that more will be revealed as the series needs it to be revealed. And fourthly – and most importantly – the author provides our story in the form of dual first person POV’s, those of our two main protagonists, Jury and Plant. If they don’t see it, hear it, read it or think it, we don’t know it. Therefore, we must pay close attention to not only find the clues but to attach them to a suspect. The author’s writing style is descriptive and full but not overly wordy. And, yes, an American reader may need a dictionary at times. The dialog is tailored to fit each character’s implied personality and ranges from witty to serious to sarcastic to tongue-in-cheek. The internal monologues of Plant are often hilarious and full of double entendre, but fully illustrate his intelligence and comprehension. And Jury’s internal monologues are filled not only with logic but perception and compassion. The author has created DCI Richard Jury as an honest, hard-working CID detective with good insight into the machinations of human nature, work place politics, and command dynamics. She has created a believable character who should be a delight to follow into further mysteries, particularly as she adds Melrose Plant in again as his unofficial investigative partner.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes is the first book in the Inspector Richard Jury mystery series. I've previously read 5 other books in the series but that was 3 or 4 years ago. I was glad to finally read the first book, especially glad as it introduced the core of characters who appear in many of the other books in the series (at least those that I've read) Chief Inspector Jury of Scotland Yard has been assigned to a case in the town of Long Piddleton, where two murders are being The Man With a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes is the first book in the Inspector Richard Jury mystery series. I've previously read 5 other books in the series but that was 3 or 4 years ago. I was glad to finally read the first book, especially glad as it introduced the core of characters who appear in many of the other books in the series (at least those that I've read) Chief Inspector Jury of Scotland Yard has been assigned to a case in the town of Long Piddleton, where two murders are being investigated. Both bodies have been discovered in local pubs, The Man with a Load of Mischief and The Jack and Hammer. During the course of his investigation, Jury is accompanied by his hypondriac Sgt. Wiggins, more bodies are discovered. Jury's investigation introduces an intriguing cast of witnesses / suspects; from wealthy Melrose Plant, his precocious aunt Lady Agatha, antique dealer Marshall Trueblood, lovely poetess Vivian Rivington, and many others. I particularly enjoyed Jury's interactions with the Double children; they added a nice gentle touch to this murder mystery. Set during the Xmas period, we get a nice feel for Jury's nature, personality and his manner of investigation. The case was intriguing and we continue to be fed new clues and information. Was the murder perpertrated by a stranger or someone local? The journey makes the solution even more enjoyable and satisfying. Having read some of the other books previously, but still many years ago, it was nice to meet those characters who appear in future books and often assist Jury with his investigations. Excellent story and mystery. Now to find book 2. The Old Fox Deceiv'd. (As an aside, if you are not aware of this, the titles of each book refer to pubs in the area of the particular mystery.) (4 stars)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Not the absolute worst mystery I've ever read, but it was a struggle to stay awake as the pages flipped themselves. Very cozy - snow-covered villages, vicars and antique shops, bosomy barmaids, cantankerous spinster aunts. Inspector Jury is likeable. Martha Grimes, oddly, writes like a lecherous man, and though written in 1981, the descriptions of women and poncey gay men make the book seem at least 10 years older. Not the absolute worst mystery I've ever read, but it was a struggle to stay awake as the pages flipped themselves. Very cozy - snow-covered villages, vicars and antique shops, bosomy barmaids, cantankerous spinster aunts. Inspector Jury is likeable. Martha Grimes, oddly, writes like a lecherous man, and though written in 1981, the descriptions of women and poncey gay men make the book seem at least 10 years older.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    First book in series and first of the Richard Jury I read. I enjoyed the writing more than Agatha Christie's style of writing. Read gets a bit frustrating at times as the characters are lengthened out for dramatic effect. But all-in-all a very good read. Also, as it was her first work in the series I imagine the others will improve as they progress so am looking forward to reading them. First book in series and first of the Richard Jury I read. I enjoyed the writing more than Agatha Christie's style of writing. Read gets a bit frustrating at times as the characters are lengthened out for dramatic effect. But all-in-all a very good read. Also, as it was her first work in the series I imagine the others will improve as they progress so am looking forward to reading them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    G.M.

    I see she has a new book out in August 2019. Hooray! I love this author so much, and am beholden to her because after reading her books, I wanted to write something similar.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    The Man With a Load of Mischief is book one in The Richard Jury Mysteries. Scotland Yard Inspector Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury was called to help find the murder of two men in a small English village called Long Piddleton. However, everyone in Long Piddleton except Melrose Plant was looking for the killer outside the town. With the help of Melrose Plant Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury started to investigate. The readers will continue to follow Melrose Plant and Detective Chief The Man With a Load of Mischief is book one in The Richard Jury Mysteries. Scotland Yard Inspector Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury was called to help find the murder of two men in a small English village called Long Piddleton. However, everyone in Long Piddleton except Melrose Plant was looking for the killer outside the town. With the help of Melrose Plant Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury started to investigate. The readers will continue to follow Melrose Plant and Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury investigation into the death of the two men. The Man With a Load of Mischief is the first book I have read of Martha Grimes, and I enjoyed it. I love Martha Grimes portrayal her characters and the way they interact with each other. Martha Grimes does a fantastic job of describing her sittings that allow me to image setting in the gardens of Jack and Hammer having a beer. The Man With a Load of Mischief is well written and researched by Martha Grimes. The readers of The Man With a Load of Mischief will learn about living in a small English village. Also, the readers of The Man With a Load of Mischief will start to understand the role of Scotland Yard in law enforcement investigation. I recommend this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    I've decided to give myself a treat with my summer reading by indulging mostly in my guilty pleasures - that is to say mysteries. And in so doing, I plan to delve into some of the series which I haven't sampled before, starting with Martha Grimes' Inspector Richard Jury series. This has been recommended to me at various times over the years, but, for some reason, I just never got into it. Maybe because I was busy reading several other series. But time to break new ground and meet some new charact I've decided to give myself a treat with my summer reading by indulging mostly in my guilty pleasures - that is to say mysteries. And in so doing, I plan to delve into some of the series which I haven't sampled before, starting with Martha Grimes' Inspector Richard Jury series. This has been recommended to me at various times over the years, but, for some reason, I just never got into it. Maybe because I was busy reading several other series. But time to break new ground and meet some new characters. One would think that a book featuring a New Scotland Yard detective inspector as its main character would be a police procedural type, but this, I think, falls more in the "cozy" category. While Inspector Jury may be the main character, the story is set in a small village and there are various eccentric villagers who "assist the police in their inquiries," and we see much of the story through their eyes. The village is Long Piddleton - Long Pidd to the locals. It is a quaint little place that has recently been discovered by Londoners seeking a refuge from the hurly burly of city life. It is a village where nothing of note ever happens. And then the murders start. First, the body of a stranger to the village is found with his head stuck in a barrel of beer in the cellar of one of the village pubs. But before he was put in the barrel, he was strangled with a wire. This all happened while the pub was busy with patrons, but nobody saw a thing. Within twenty-four hours, another body is found at another village pub - this one stuck on a beam over the pub's name sign. And then the whole thing just gets silly. People are dropping like flies and there are few clues to indicate what is going on. The thing is that all of the victims at first are supposedly unknown to the villagers and seem to have no connection to Long Pidd. But Jury is quite sure that there must be a connection if only he can find it. One of Long Piddleton's own, Melrose Plant, a former lord who gave up his title, then finds another dead body. But this one breaks the pattern. It is a local girl, maid to the vicar, who had recently left town (she said) to visit her family. Plant becomes fascinated by the murders and turns into an amateur sleuth, helping Inspector Jury root out the source of evil in his village. Comic relief is provided by Plant's overbearing Aunt Agatha who fancies herself a modern-day Miss Marple. In fact, one of the most fun things about this book was its gentle humor. Several of the characters are quirky to the point of peculiarity and they provide a lot of leavening for this essentially straightforward tale of greed gone wild. I found The Man with a Load of Mischief to be a very light and pleasant read, almost perfect for a summer day. True, the last 15% or so of the book began to drag just a bit, after Jury had already solved the mystery and the culprit had been arrested, but, overall, I enjoyed it and I'm moving on to the second entry in the series. There are twenty-three Inspector Richard Jury books in total and I expect to continue reading my way through them in coming months and years. Fun times ahead!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Megan Haworth

    This book was not for me. I really enjoy a good murder mystery from time to time. I don't expect them to be Shakespeare. After all, a murder mystery is, by definition, formulaic. But I do expect reasonably good writing, well-developed characters, and an intriguing storyline to keep me interested in the outcome. "The Man With a Load of Mischief," I am sorry to say, had none of these elements to recommend it. The writing was cliche laden and the characters were downright cartoonish. The whole book This book was not for me. I really enjoy a good murder mystery from time to time. I don't expect them to be Shakespeare. After all, a murder mystery is, by definition, formulaic. But I do expect reasonably good writing, well-developed characters, and an intriguing storyline to keep me interested in the outcome. "The Man With a Load of Mischief," I am sorry to say, had none of these elements to recommend it. The writing was cliche laden and the characters were downright cartoonish. The whole book felt like a parody of a murder mystery, what with the alibis, red herrings, and English stereotypes. The author also had an annoying habit of referring to the characters by both their first and last names, sometimes in the same paragraph, which made keeping everyone straight very difficult. But the really telling thing is that by the end of this book, I didn't care who the murderer was. I was just glad it was over.

  16. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    THE MAN WITH A LOAD OF MISCHIEF (English Police Procedural) – VG Martha Grimes – 1st of series An Onyx Book, 2003 (Reprint from 1981) - Paperback It’s Christmas time in Long Pittleton. When the second of two murders occurs with the bodies found in two separate pubs, one with his head stuck in a beer keg and the other draped over the pub sign beam, Det. Chief Inspector Richard Jury is sent to investigate. *** Talk about a full cast of characters, that word being truly appropriate, including two sma THE MAN WITH A LOAD OF MISCHIEF (English Police Procedural) – VG Martha Grimes – 1st of series An Onyx Book, 2003 (Reprint from 1981) - Paperback It’s Christmas time in Long Pittleton. When the second of two murders occurs with the bodies found in two separate pubs, one with his head stuck in a beer keg and the other draped over the pub sign beam, Det. Chief Inspector Richard Jury is sent to investigate. *** Talk about a full cast of characters, that word being truly appropriate, including two small children, the annoying Aunt Agatha, the brilliant Melrose Plant and his butler Ruthven, pronounced Rivv’n. The season and locale also play an important role; I loved Jury’s delight in an unbroken field of snow. This was a delightful book with wonderful humor. I enjoyed it very much.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A Christmas themed murder mystery. (This is as "merry" as I get!) A Christmas themed murder mystery. (This is as "merry" as I get!)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karol

    This is a rare occasion where I wish there were half stars. I would rate this one a solid 4 1/2. I first became acquainted with the Richard Jury series a few years ago when I happened to read what were then the latest two books in the series. (The Old Wine Shades, and Dust). I believe at least three books came out after those two - but I decided at long last to go all the way back to the first book in the series if I could find it. I am glad I did! I love Martha Grimes' writing style. She presents This is a rare occasion where I wish there were half stars. I would rate this one a solid 4 1/2. I first became acquainted with the Richard Jury series a few years ago when I happened to read what were then the latest two books in the series. (The Old Wine Shades, and Dust). I believe at least three books came out after those two - but I decided at long last to go all the way back to the first book in the series if I could find it. I am glad I did! I love Martha Grimes' writing style. She presents characters that are undeniably "British" but without making them mere cariactures. The butler, the lord (who gave up his title), the lady who grasped a title that didn't truly belong to her, and the Scotland Yard detective. One might expect all of these in a mystery taking place in the English countryside. But each character is unique and in many ways not stereotypical. I enjoyed the story telling, loved the character development, and found the mystery itself to be quite satisfying.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Booth

    4.5 stars. This is first in series of well over 20 books. Richard Jury is an amiable and intelligent detective who must put up with inferior superiors. He's sent to a small village with clever pub signs to solve murders that keep growing in number until he solves them. He's added by an eccentric and brilliant self-renounced lord Melrose Plant who is plagued by his insufferable aunt who meddles and creates more than a small amount of annoyance to the characters and the reader. You just want to pu 4.5 stars. This is first in series of well over 20 books. Richard Jury is an amiable and intelligent detective who must put up with inferior superiors. He's sent to a small village with clever pub signs to solve murders that keep growing in number until he solves them. He's added by an eccentric and brilliant self-renounced lord Melrose Plant who is plagued by his insufferable aunt who meddles and creates more than a small amount of annoyance to the characters and the reader. You just want to push her over into a ditch before you've even got a third of the way through the book! Discommodious indeed! It's small town life at its murderous best. The book is quite enjoyably written with a little bit of trivia thrown it for entertainment. The characters are fun and quirky and while it's not great literature, it's a wonderful British mystery.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I don't even know where to start, Im so excited about this series! I listened to it on audio, and I have to say the first 2 hours were rough, though I;m not sure why. There was a lot to follow at the beginning, and I think I was afraid it was going to be full of descriptions of characters I didn't know if I should be caring about or not. Somewhere right after the 2 hour mark the action picked up and I was hooked from there. I also think the narration took some getting use to. Though Steve West i I don't even know where to start, Im so excited about this series! I listened to it on audio, and I have to say the first 2 hours were rough, though I;m not sure why. There was a lot to follow at the beginning, and I think I was afraid it was going to be full of descriptions of characters I didn't know if I should be caring about or not. Somewhere right after the 2 hour mark the action picked up and I was hooked from there. I also think the narration took some getting use to. Though Steve West is incredible at performing really unique voices for each character (and there are tons), his regular narrating voice felt a bit stiff and flat for the first half of the book. I don't know if he found his groove or if I just got use to him, but it all came together rather well by that point! Martha Grimes is now one of my new favorites and I'm so excited to have a new series to follow. The story was incredibly detailed and creative without being boring. I was hanging on every word instead of trying to force myself to follow along. Also, I loved the mystery being solved about an hour before the book was over, which left time to explain things and follow up with some of the main characters. I hate stories where everything is thrown at you the last 10 minutes and you're then left stunned with your mouth open in confusion. For me, this is the most well written mystery I've come across yet, even in comparison to Agatha Christie, who is brilliant but tends to wrap her stories up rather quickly at the end. I urge you to give this a try if you're considering. Its a great mystery with more wit than cheekiness, an incredibly talented narrator, and a genuinely good hearted detective who you'll quickly grow fond of... dare I say even "crush on" by the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brandy Painter

    I really enjoyed this book at first. It is a classic who-done-it mystery in which there are multiple suspects and no real clear evidence. Yet the bodies keep piling up. I loved the portrayal of small British village life. I was thoroughly enjoying the character of Richard Jury and thinking this would be a book (and series) I could really get into do despite the sometimes overwrought use of figurative language. (Seriously, the similes in this are way over the top.) BUT THEN.... There is insta-love I really enjoyed this book at first. It is a classic who-done-it mystery in which there are multiple suspects and no real clear evidence. Yet the bodies keep piling up. I loved the portrayal of small British village life. I was thoroughly enjoying the character of Richard Jury and thinking this would be a book (and series) I could really get into do despite the sometimes overwrought use of figurative language. (Seriously, the similes in this are way over the top.) BUT THEN.... There is insta-love. The hero takes one look at a girl and decides he is madly in love with her. Never mind that she can actually be considered a suspect. Never mind that she is known to be close to two other people who are also suspects. No. He is in love. And why? I couldn't really tell since the girl hadn't spoken a word when he decided this, but it is implied she in some way reminded him of a former lover. Nice. Jury immediately gets all grumbly and jealous over her interactions with other men. My liking for his character dwindled fast. The overwrought similes in the writing became more annoying when tied up with this, and the last half of the book left a bad taste in my mouth as a result. Sigh. I so wanted to like this one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sparrow

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Books today are not written; they are communicated. The Man with a Load of Mischief isn’t a murder mystery so much as a sigh of nostalgia for murder mysteries. And Martha Grimes, despite her name (which might be fake), is apparently American – which explains why her hero, Scotland Yard Inspector Richard Jury, seems more like a Wyoming cowboy than a denizen of London. I can’t believe she named this town “Long Piddleton” (with the Piddle River running through it)! Thus does Grimes piss on her ficti Books today are not written; they are communicated. The Man with a Load of Mischief isn’t a murder mystery so much as a sigh of nostalgia for murder mysteries. And Martha Grimes, despite her name (which might be fake), is apparently American – which explains why her hero, Scotland Yard Inspector Richard Jury, seems more like a Wyoming cowboy than a denizen of London. I can’t believe she named this town “Long Piddleton” (with the Piddle River running through it)! Thus does Grimes piss on her fictional creations. There are two problems with the book: 1) Melrose Plant, the amiable bored aristocrat, has the same exact personality as Richard Jury; 2) the beautiful and alluring Vivian Rivington is abominably dull. In fact, the only enjoyable character is Marshall Trueblood (sounds Native American, doesn’t it?), the witty super-gay antique dealer. This novel asks the central question all women must confront: will this handsome, well-dressed man I just met at a bar murder me? Opening at random: “The nails of the hand were painted an incongruous, bright red, and a large, cheap ring encircled one finger. Jury felt the arm. Stiff as an icicle.” [Yes, Martha is American, according to Wikipedia – born in Pittsburgh, 1931 (though her name is real). Wikipedia then savagely remarks: Her "English" novels are littered with mistakes, both of terminology and of geography. In one novel she laughingly imagines that Brighton, on England's South Coast, faces the Atlantic. Her written English is turgid and full of appalling repetitive descriptive clichés.]

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I've heard of Martha Grimes for ages and finally decided to give her a try. I was not disappointed. She had created a smart, somewhat sarcastic, Inspector I am goiyto enjoy following. There were a number of red herrings and unlikeable characters but Jury's sergeant grew into his role and he developed an intriguing relationship/friendship with a local aristocrat that is promising for good detection. I've heard of Martha Grimes for ages and finally decided to give her a try. I was not disappointed. She had created a smart, somewhat sarcastic, Inspector I am goiyto enjoy following. There were a number of red herrings and unlikeable characters but Jury's sergeant grew into his role and he developed an intriguing relationship/friendship with a local aristocrat that is promising for good detection.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Wasn't sure I was enjoying this first reread in many years - but in the end the Jameses made me smile for the first time in a while, so on to the next. Wasn't sure I was enjoying this first reread in many years - but in the end the Jameses made me smile for the first time in a while, so on to the next.

  25. 5 out of 5

    ShanDizzy

    This is the 1st time I've ever read this author and so far, I am confident that it will not be the last time. I'm sure to finish this entire series if this first in the series is any indication of crisp writing and engaging characters. I must add that the audio version of this story is great too. The narrator Steve West has an amazing resonant, baritone voice. His reading is fantastic! The name "Fiona Clingmore" made me chuckle. Here is a funny description of her - Fiona Clingmore entered and get This is the 1st time I've ever read this author and so far, I am confident that it will not be the last time. I'm sure to finish this entire series if this first in the series is any indication of crisp writing and engaging characters. I must add that the audio version of this story is great too. The narrator Steve West has an amazing resonant, baritone voice. His reading is fantastic! The name "Fiona Clingmore" made me chuckle. Here is a funny description of her - Fiona Clingmore entered and getting her priorities straight, smiled warmly at Jury before handing over the manila folder to Racer. She was wearing one of those 1940 outfits she seemed to like: black, high-heeled shoes with a button strap across the instep, tight black skirt, black nylon blouse with long, full sleeves which always made her look en negligee. As usual, her neckline was down and her skirt was up. Fiona always seemed to wear her clothes at half-mast; perhaps she was mourning chastity thought Jury. I am loving the cheekiness - "Melrose!" It was his aunt's voice from the saloon bar. "Will you be forever mooning about the dining-room door? Come along, come along!" Should he have answered "Yes, Auntie" and skipped along with his stick and ball? His aunt had acquired this silly habit of addressing men by their last names (My dear Plant, my dear Matchett), which Melrose found affected. No one talked like that anymore, except in the sanctum sanctorum of dusty men's clubs, where rigor mortis seemed a cause rather than an effect of death.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    The first in the Richard Jury mystery series, beloved by my niece and her Mom. And I see why! Everything I love in a mystery: A quirky/interesting protagonist (Inspector, Detective, Commissario, amateur sleuth, etc.), an assistant or two, a civilian side-kick who helps solve the mysteries, a superior who is superfluous/annoying, a wonderful cast of characters who add to the dynamics, humor, romantic/sexual tension, a place that is equally a character, crazy names (places and people) etc. This on The first in the Richard Jury mystery series, beloved by my niece and her Mom. And I see why! Everything I love in a mystery: A quirky/interesting protagonist (Inspector, Detective, Commissario, amateur sleuth, etc.), an assistant or two, a civilian side-kick who helps solve the mysteries, a superior who is superfluous/annoying, a wonderful cast of characters who add to the dynamics, humor, romantic/sexual tension, a place that is equally a character, crazy names (places and people) etc. This one takes place in Long Piddleton (Long Pid, say the natives) in the shires. Jury is called out for two murders, but the bodies keep piling up! The story just happens to take place over Christmas - a coincidence, but given the time of year it added to the enjoyment. These, like a few other series I read, are of the lighter, more genteel sort, which provide nice break from the more grim/gruesome mysteries that are so prevalent these days. I also read those, but they can be exhausting! There was a lot of description of the village, the people, etc. that was hard to keep track of - too much detail! I'm assuming this is designed to set up the series and hope the detailed descriptions will diminish with time. I understand that most of the cast are recurring throughout the series which I am excited to read. Better get cracking - there are 23 Richard Jury books! I listened to this and at first was put off by the narrator, Steve West, but eventually decided he was brilliant at setting the tone and voicing the characters.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    One of my favorite mystery authors, and one of my favorite mysteries. The characters are colorful and distinct; the dialogue crisp and witty. I have just re-read this novel as I plan to read all of Grimes' Richard Jury mysteries more or less in order. (I missed a few over the years.) I do feel her earlier books are better written, unlike some writers who continue to improve as they go, but I am still one of her biggest fans. As the murders pile up in this first in the series, Jury remains calm an One of my favorite mystery authors, and one of my favorite mysteries. The characters are colorful and distinct; the dialogue crisp and witty. I have just re-read this novel as I plan to read all of Grimes' Richard Jury mysteries more or less in order. (I missed a few over the years.) I do feel her earlier books are better written, unlike some writers who continue to improve as they go, but I am still one of her biggest fans. As the murders pile up in this first in the series, Jury remains calm and virtually unflappable. He meets some of the other characters who will figure in the following novels: the equally unflappable Melrose Plant; Melrose's unforgettable, and oh-my-God so irritating Aunt Agatha; the insufferable and egotistical Superintendent Racer; the hypochrondriac, yet occassionally spot-on when it comes to flashes of brilliance, Wiggins; and of course the mysterious Vivian Rivington. If one is looking for a mystery series to hook onto, one cannot do much better than the Richard Jury series by Martha Grimes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Martha Bratton

    Martha Grimes is my favorite author, hands down. I love her quirky gang of hangers-out and mystery solvers. The asides are as fascinating as the plots. Never too sweet, never too bitter, and always human. I also love that the series is named for pubs, and I wish she would write one about my favorite pub name in Cork, Ireland, "The Goat Broke Loose." Martha Grimes is my favorite author, hands down. I love her quirky gang of hangers-out and mystery solvers. The asides are as fascinating as the plots. Never too sweet, never too bitter, and always human. I also love that the series is named for pubs, and I wish she would write one about my favorite pub name in Cork, Ireland, "The Goat Broke Loose."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Cornelius

    I had never heard of Martha Grimes, but a friend gave me a whole box of paperbacks, and I found this book in the pile. British humor, but very clever and easy to get the subtleties. I'm planning on reading more of her books. I had never heard of Martha Grimes, but a friend gave me a whole box of paperbacks, and I found this book in the pile. British humor, but very clever and easy to get the subtleties. I'm planning on reading more of her books.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Solid introduction to a mystery series. Written in the early 80's but a fairly timeless English village cozy setting. Looking forward to reading more. #popsugar challenge 2020/ a series with more than 20 books in it Solid introduction to a mystery series. Written in the early 80's but a fairly timeless English village cozy setting. Looking forward to reading more. #popsugar challenge 2020/ a series with more than 20 books in it

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