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Foul Matter (2003)

by Martha Grimes

Series: Foul Matter (1)

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5291145,772 (3.48)33
Successful author Paul Giverney, harboring a secret ambition involving a reassignment of publishers and editors, sets in motion a hornets' nest of career moves that forces an upwardly mobile editor into a difficult position.
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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
her funniest book - would not have thought the author of the Richard Jury mysteries could do this ( )
  Overgaard | Dec 19, 2022 |
A lot of potential in this book that was unfortunately wasted. I spent the whole time wishing it had been written by Elmore Leonard, because he would have been able to do so much more with the characters and dialogue. It wasn't a BAD book, just not a particularly good one. ( )
  Skatuva | Feb 2, 2020 |
A little different than most Martha Grimes novels. A funny parody of the cut throat (in this case, literally) publishing industry. I enjoyed it, but I suspect would have enjoyed it a lot more if I was actually IN the publishing industry. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
Slow start, but great when it got going. Very funny! read by Stephen Hoye ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
What a random book! The flimsy 'mystery' is obvious from the beginning, but as the whole thing is really a thinly veiled dig at the publishing industry, that doesn't really matter. Martha Grimes has a hardback-sized chip on her shoulder, but her constant moralising about the purity of writing and the mercenary tactics of publishers and agents isn't witty or sharp, just bitter.

Also, I'm not sure how far the 'joke' stretches - is she writing like a teenage fan fiction novice to prove a point? The dialogue is painful in places, explaining jokes and cramming in popular references (Robert De Niro being a favourite), and the characters are all Dickensian devices, from the 'comedy' hitmen with literary pretensions (because 'sensitive' thugs are original) right on down to the dimwitted blonde secretaries. And the 'climax' of the mystery is a ridiculous farce usually found in French films and British sitcoms, with the cast of thousands all following each other around Pittsburgh (the author's guided tour around her wonderful, surprising, plucky little home town was covered with the same amount of subtlety as her attack on publishing).

Perhaps I missed the point, and the joke. If Martha Grimes should happen to write a book about the orderly yet frustrated lives of librarians, her wry satire would no doubt have me in hysterics, but writers praising themselves and punishing the people who sell their books got boring very quickly. (Although I would agree that certain 'popular' bestselling authors actually owe their careers to marketing and not talent.) Hopefully the author feels better now, having got all that 'foul matter' out of her system, but I won't be looking up any of her other titles based on this measure. Recommended only for frustrated editors and rejected authors. ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | May 11, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Successful author Paul Giverney, harboring a secret ambition involving a reassignment of publishers and editors, sets in motion a hornets' nest of career moves that forces an upwardly mobile editor into a difficult position.

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