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The Old Silent by Martha Grimes
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The Old Silent (original 1990; edition 1990)

by Martha Grimes

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823411,024 (3.74)12
Member:mtgillis
Title:The Old Silent
Authors:Martha Grimes
Info:Dell (1990), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:****1/2
Tags:mystery, Richard Jury, Melrose Plant, British

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The Old Silent by Martha Grimes (1990)

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English (3)  German (1)  All languages (4)
Showing 3 of 3
Meh. I wish these Martha Grimes books came with a cast list at the beginning of the novel. By the end, I get so confused about who is who and who is related to whom, etc. Maybe I should take notes, but I refuse to do that for leisure reading. ( )
  Jaie22 | Jan 23, 2011 |
Depressed about his life or, more accurately, lack of one, Jury takes some time off and ends up in Bronte country. After more or less stalking an attractive woman through the Bronte Museum and the Children’s Toy Museum, ashamed of himself, Jury heads for his lodgings at The Old Silent Inn. There, he sees the woman once more, who is meeting a man she obviously knows. Before he realizes what is happening and certainly before he can prevent it, the woman shoots and kills the man; Jury is in the odd position of being a policeman who is a witness to a murder to which he is totally unconnected.

The crime occurs in Macalvie country. Macalvie fills Jury in on the background of the woman—Nell Citrine Healey—and of the bizarre kidnapping that occurred 14 years before in which Bill Healey, Nell’s stepson and his best friend Toby Holt disappeared almost underneath Nell’s eyes one afternoon. Billy was kidnapped; the kidnappers demand a ransom that Nell, listening to police advice, refused to pay. Nothing was ever heard from Billy or the kidnappers again. Toby is reported killed in London in an auto accident 5 weeks later. Her husband, Roger Healey, the boy’s father, is the man that Nell then kills 14 years later. Macalvie knows all this, since he was a Detective Sargeant on the original kidnapping case; Macalvie never forgets anything.

There is no doubt of Nell’s guilt in the murder of Roger Healey; the big question is why. Nell refuses to discuss anything. But Jury can not get Nell Healey out of his head, and starts investigating on his own; he brings in Melrose Plant to help out.

Because this is a Martha Grimes story, naturally there is a precocious child who plays a major role. In this book, it’s Abby Cable, niece of the owner of the bed and breakfast place at which Melrose stays. Abby is yet another child who has a remarkable rapport with animals, especially her sheep dog, Stranger, a border collie. When someone tries to kill Abby out on the moor, Abby deploys Stranger and another sheep dog, Tim to round up a flock of sheep scattered over a distant hill and drive them towards her, creating enough confusion that Abby escapes in the midst of the wooly confusion. The scene, told from the dogs’ point of view, is superbly written in a book filled with superbly written scenes.

Melrose, whose life requires melodrama, meets an eccentric American young woman, Ellen Gray, who just happens to be a “hot” best-selling author of avant-garde (meaning no one can understand them) books. Their relationship is both predictable and hilarious.

The climax is exciting, extremely well done. Plot is excellent, one of her better ones. The book is filled with the usual panoply of Grimes one-of-a-kind characters, and the Grimes humor never falters.

Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote Joycepa | Jan 5, 2008 |
The master of British mystery is American. I do enjoy her characters: Jury, Melrose, Wiggins, even Agatha. I almost had the mystery solved, just the wrong accomplice, and wrong victim. But the right reason, money! I really enjoy how Grimes includes children and makes Jury and Melrose interact with them. The children are always critical to the solution of some part of the mystery. And she uses animals well, gives them real character. ( )
  caltheat | May 16, 2006 |
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To Kathy Grimes, Roy Buchanan and my cats, Felix and Emily, who have all entered the old silence
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He had seen her earlier that day in the museum behind the parsonage.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451412079, Mass Market Paperback)

Feeling burned out, Jury takes an unplanned stopover in Yorkshire and books a room at a cozy inn called the Old Silent. Violence finds him anyway when he becomes the only witness to a murder. Though Nell Healey shot her husband in cold blood, Jury will go to any lengths to help her, including taking sick leave from Scotland Yard to investigate. Calling on his old friend Melrose Plant for help, he must break through Nell’s reticence to untangle a web of twisted motives—and twisted lives....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Feeling burned out, Jury makes an unplanned stopover in Yorkshire and books a room at a cozy inn call the Old Silent. Violence finds him anyway when he becomes the only witness to a murder. Though Nell Healey shot her husband in cold blood, Jury will go to any lengths to help her, including taking sick leave from Scotland Yard to investigate. Calling on his old friend Melrose Plant for help, he must break through Nell's reticence to untangle a web of twisted motives, and twisted lives.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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