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The Black Cat by Martha Grimes

The Black Cat (2010)

by Martha Grimes

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Superintendent Richard Jury is sent to Chesham to investigate the death of a young woman. The woman, later identified as Mariah Cox worked in the library but had a secret life as an escort in London.

The woman's body was found on the grounds of the Black Cat pub. The manager's ward is a young girl who asks Jury's help in finding her lost cat, Morris.

There was a large party near where the girl was killed and on the guest list is Harry Johnson a man Jury has been trying to arrest for past offenses but couldn't get enough evidence. Johnson is an easygoing man who enjoys bantering with Jury. Johnson also owns a dog named Mungo.
A surprise development is when Morris and Mungo begin communicating and we learn a bit about the murder.

Another woman is killed. This time it's in London and the woman was also an escort. Jury asks help from his friend, the wealthy Melrose Plant. Melrose is an entertaining character who adds charm and humor to the story.

Police procedural fans and those of English mysteries will enjoy this story as will owners of cats and dogs. ( )
  mikedraper | May 26, 2014 |
3 women are murdered. The only things that appear to connect their murders are that they each worked in an escort service, they each had secret lives and they each wore designer shoes. Is this the work of a serial killer and if so, what is the motive behind these killings? Into the fray jumps Richard Jury, who continues to do battle with his nemesis, Harry Johnson.

It's an entertaining but rather disjointed read, and I thought the final exposure of the murder plans and executions to be rather far-fetched. ( )
  cameling | Sep 18, 2013 |
I gave up around page 65 ... it just wasn't holding my attention. No hard feelings, Martha Grimes. ( )
  KatiBruneau | Apr 3, 2013 |
Martha Grimes has been one of my favorite mystery writers over the years. I have read through her earlier books twice. As is often the case when I read a book, I am not sure how much where I am in my life impacts my reactions, but I seem to be having similar reactions to others. Something is missing. This was an interesting story, but not as rich. I can see why others wonder if she is actually writing these. The characters don't seem the same - they say and do things that don't fit my sense of them. The book felt choppy at times - brief cameos by familiar characters, a stop off to rescue a dog, etc. The mystery was somewhat interesting. But I am left wanting something richer. ( )
  jour149 | Jul 8, 2012 |
When a murdered woman is discovered at a Chesham pub called The Black Cat, the case is assigned to Richard Jury of Scotland Yard. The difficulties encountered while attempting to identify the dead woman uncovered some surprising secrets. In order to solve the case, Jury enlists the help of his friend, Melrose Plant, in investigating the world of escort services.

The murder plot itself is unoriginal, but rather borrowed from well-known books and films. The book has ties to at least one of Grimes' previous Jury novels, The Old Wine Shades, which I hadn't read, unfortunately, since this book contains some major plot spoilers for it. While the mystery plot alone isn't enough to recommend the book, designer shoes and a cat and dog that talk with each other add an element of whimsey that might attract animal lovers or readers with a passion for shoes. ( )
  cbl_tn | Jun 30, 2012 |
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That would be waving and that would be crying, Crying and shouting and meaning farewell.
- Wallace Stevens.
To my old cat, Blackie November 1989 - April 23, 2007
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It was already in the bloody London tabloids, the case not yet three days old and his own face plastered all over the paper when it was really Thames Valley police, and not the Met, not he, who owned the case.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670021601, Hardcover)

The inimitable Richard Jury returns in a thrilling tale of mystery, madness, and mistaken identity

Three months have passed since Richard Jury was left bereft and guilt- ridden after his lover's tragic auto accident, and he is now more wary than ever. He is deeply suspicious when requested on a case far out of his jurisdiction in an outlying village where a young woman has been murdered behind the local pub. The only witness is the establishment's black cat, who gives neither crook nor clue as to the girl's identity or her killer's.

Identifying the girl becomes tricky when she's recognized as both the shy local librarian and a posh city escort, and Jury must use all his wits and intuition to determine the connection to subse­quent escort murders. Meanwhile, Jury's nemesis, Harry Johnson, continues to goad Jury down a dangerous path. And Johnson, along with the imperturbable dog Mungo, just may be the key to it all.

Written with Martha Grimes's trademark insight and grace, The Black Cat signals the thrilling return of her greatest character. The superintendent is a man possessed of prodigious analytical gifts and charm, yet vulnerable in the most perplexing ways.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Jury investigates the death of a young escort who has been murdered behind a local pub. The only witness is the establishment's black cat, who gives neither crook nor clue as to the girl's identity or her killer's.

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