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The Dirty Duck by Martha Grimes
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The Dirty Duck (1984)

by Martha Grimes

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729612,849 (3.53)19
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Showing 5 of 5
A nice little mystery. A quicker, easier read than her others that I have read. I liked the characters and the descriptions of their interactions. ( )
  BonnieJune54 | May 14, 2012 |
Enjoyable procedural. Nothing fancy, and I didn't much care "who dunnit," but I did enjoy watching the crime and its solution unravel. ( )
  Jaie22 | Dec 4, 2010 |
Readable and entertaining. The twist at the end (although expected) was nicely done. Most of the characters were two-dimensional, which was acceptable since most of them didn't make it to the final pages. Turns out the author teaches English at a local community college! But the main characters had depth and I found them sympatico. Of course, one of the nice things about reading a mystery "series" is that the recurring characters get more and more fleshed out with each book.

Enough with the mysteries. Now to read some non-bloody nonfiction....
  kaulsu | Feb 27, 2010 |
This is early enough in the series, so the characters are still fresh. It is a good mystery set in Stratford, with amusing characters., and commentary on Americans visiting England.
  BallyMan | Aug 6, 2008 |
4th in the Richard Jury series.

Jury is in Stratford-on-Avon, using the return of Jenny Kennington's emerald necklace as an excuse to see the attractive widow once more. While there, he is prevailed upon by Detective Sergeant Sam Lasko of the local constabulary to talk with an American family, the Farradays, visiting Stratford as part of a tour group, about progress on finding their 9 year old son who has gone missing. But soon Jury finds himself far more involved--unofficially--as one of the tour group, an American woman, is found murdered in a most brutal way.

Melrose Plant is in Stratford desperately trying to avert the visit to Ardry End of Agatha's numerous American cousins. Thus he is right on hand when yet another female member of the tour group, this time a member of the Farraday family, is murdered in the same manner. Meantime, Melrose has inadvertently acquired a companion, Harvey Schoenberg, a young American computer specialist (this is in 1983) tour group member, who is an enthusiast of a bizarre theory about Christopher Marlowe's death. The tour group makes its way to London, where yet more murders occur. What adds to the fear in the case is that the murders appear to be occurring according to the lines in a 16th century poem, raising the possibility of many more murders to fit the poem.

Much as I love Martha Grimes and the Richard Jury series, this book is boring. Her plots are usually quite good; this one is too strained for belief. Her strong point in this series is her characters. Here, all the new ones are stock cardboard cutouts, dragged from every unflattering American (and some English) stereotype possible. Even Plant and Jury are not up to par, and Agatha does not have a large enough role to figure into any fun. Grimes' wit is a major part of the enjoyment of her books; in this one, it is greatly subdued. The climax, basically, is unbelievable.

There are some interesting aspects to the book, especially the part about the computer Schoenberg lugs around. In 1982, there were exactly 88 connections to the Internet; the computer phenomenon had not taken hold by 1983, when the book was written. Schoenberg's computer was hardly a laptop; in fact, the first portable computers weighing around 35 lbs were not really available until the late 1980's. And Schoenberg uses his computer strictly as a storage device; there is no mention of the Internet. So it's interesting that in 1983, Grimes was able to incorporate the very beginnings of what would be a world-wide phenomenal explosion of technology.

As usual, Grimes has an engaging child character, the 9 year old James Carlton Farraday. He is the typical resourceful Grimes child, and is one of the brighter spots in an otherwise dim book.

Grimeism: "Some men went for their guns under stress,some for their cigarettes. Wiggens went for his cough drops."

Overall, this is a boring book and quite untypical of the series. ( )
  Joycepa | Nov 24, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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The doors of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre emptied another audience into a mean rain that always seemed to know the minute the performance ended.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451411390, Mass Market Paperback)

Superintendent Richard Jury has been wrong before. But when stating that "nothing ever happens in Stratford," he never imagined just how wrong he could be. Besides the stage murders committed nightly at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, a real one has been performed not far from a popular pub known as The Dirty Duck.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Superintendent Richard Jury has been wrong before. But when stating that nothing ever happens in Stratford, he doesn't imagine just how wrong he can be. Besides the stage murders performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, a real one has been committed not far from a popular pub know as the Dirty Duck. And the killer has left behind a fragment of Elizabethan verse - a rhyme that could mean death with each new line...… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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