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The Deer Leap by Martha Grimes

The Deer Leap (1985)

by Martha Grimes

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Showing 5 of 5
I like Grimes' quirky but believable characters including the ever present precocious child. The ending of this one is a problem. I had to go back and reread parts in order to understand how it was solved. ( )
  BonnieJune54 | Jul 23, 2013 |
This book is a good read with Inspector Jury, Melville Plant and the usual gang trying to solve a series of animal murders and the murder of several people in a small town. I love Ms. Grimes and her take on life in the English countryside. ( )
  Anntstobbs | Feb 3, 2012 |
weak and transparent, not her best effort. ( )
  sogamonk | Nov 6, 2009 |
I'm just not Martha Grimes's reader (except for Foul Matter, which is so different from the Richard Jury mysteries it could be a different author note: I just checked the Amazon reviews for Foul Matter, and wouldn't you know it--it got terrible reviews. And yet it's the only Martha Grimes book I actually liked.). *sigh* Yet another small English town that appears to be stuck in a cross between 1800 and 1950 (it was written & presumably takes place in 1985). Yet another young girl who roams around the town, completely independently, and who people tend to defer to. I suppose the mystery was okay, but it's tending to blur with the one in the Regency I read before this one, as both have similar historical tones, and both involve the mysterious history of a young girl who's in danger. Gotta say, it was better done in the Regency. Bah. ( )
  Darla | Dec 15, 2008 |
Seventh in the Richard Jury series.

Ashdown Dean. A small village where nothing much happens outside of the usual small-town, petty irritations and gossip. Polly Praed, author of best-selling trash mysteries, is wrestling with writer's block. Along with her cat Barney, she undertakes a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting the towns and villages where such literary giants as Chaucer, Henry James, and Jane Austen lived and wrote their masterpieces, hoping for some flash of inspiration that will unblock her own imagination.

Instead, she finds herself in Ashdown Dean at a terrible B & B, with Barney missing. Because of her near pathological shyness, she decides to dump the whole problem on the one person with whom she feels comfortable--Melrose Plant. Accordingly, she searches out a phone booth, and waits interminably for the woman inside, Una Quick, to finish. Una is indeed finished--dead! Convinced that the woman has been murdered, Polly phones Plant in a panic, and insists that Melrose get Jury as well as himself to Ashdean Down.

All arrive--to find a subdued Polly. The official cause of death has been determined to be heart failure, for a woman with a known, serious heart condition.

But that doesn't mean that there aren't puzzling circumstances. Too much has happened; two dogs and a cat have died suddenly within a period of days, including Una's dog Pepper. Even Barney has a close call, being nearly set on fire by two sadistic boys in the village. Barney, however, is lucky--a savior in the form of 15 year old animal enthusiast, Carrie Fleet, threatens the boys with a .410 shotgun and rescues Barney. Carrie spends her time rescuing and nursing all sorts of animals, from a New Forest pony to a badger to a Lab hit by a truck to birds, always accompanied by her 3-legged dog, Bingo. Carrie lives with her benefactress, the Baroness Regina La Notre whom Carrie met under rather unusual circumstances. Carrie seems to have no past earlier than age 8, when the Brindles, a larcenous London couple, found her wandering around with a nasty head wound and no memory of who she was or where she came from. Carrie's relationship with the baroness protects her from the wrath of the law in the form of Constable Pasco as she is not hesitant in bending whatever rules she needs to on her missions of rescue. In particular, she and Sebastian Grimsdale, the local Master of Fox Hounds, are in constant conflict over Grimsdale's often illegal methods of securing foxes for the local hunt.

Before too long, however, Jury and Wiggens are needed as the wife of the owner of a local inn, The Deer Leap, is found dead, too, under suspicious circumstances. While there seems to be a plausible explanation, there just simply has been too much death, both of pets and human beings, to be coincidental.

With this book, Grimes' plotting and writing enter a new, more mature stage. She takes on issues such as animal rights, and there is no longer the guarantee of a happy ending where everything is resolved nicely and turns out "all right." The denoument of the plot is another page-turner, where there is a real sense of fear and urgency for those involved, and even Jury's life is threatened. The outcome is very well written; the last paragraph is a gem of its kind.

Once again, characters are the strong points. Carrie carries (sorry) on in the Grimes tradition of intelligent, resourceful young people--either children or teenagers--being crucial to the plot. As in the previous book in the series, Help the Poor Struggler, the focus of The Deer Leap is on in this case the teenager Carrie, whose past drives the plot.

There are memorable once-only characters, such as Sebastian Grimsdale and the alcoholic but perfectly functioning and sane baroness. The reappearance of Polly Praed is nicely done; she's a likeable character even if you're tempted to take her by the shoulders and shake her from time to time.

And making her debut, the utterly unforgettable Carole-anne Palutski!

Grimesism: "Then, escorted by Sergeant Wiggens, who, ever the gentleman, offered her a throat lozenge, she marched from the room."

One of the best of the series. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote Joycepa | Nov 25, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
War es ein schöner Tag zum Sterben -
Und schien die Sonne auch auf ihn -

Der wunde Hirsch - am höchsten springt -
Hör ich den Jäger sagen -
Es ist die Todeseuphorie -
Im Dickicht ist es still
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Zum Gedenken an meinen Vater
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Seit zwei Tagen suchte Una Quick ihren Hund Pepper.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451411870, Mass Market Paperback)

In a village plagued by missing pets, Scotland Yard's Richard Jury and sidekick Melrose Plant face the worst of human nature when a chilling old crime leads them to a brand new way to die.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:50 -0400)

When a series of accidents befalls both animals and humans in the village of Ashdown Dean Superintendent Richard Jury, his aristocratic assistant, Melrose Plant, the local police and a fifteen-year-old animal lover join the search for the murderer.

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