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Search tags: Martha-Grimes
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review 2017-09-20 04:33
Halloween Bingo - Cozy Mystery - This time for sure
The Case Has Altered - Martha Grimes

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this.

 

If I were a truly dedicated mystery reader, I might have been bothered by all the side stories, for there were a lot of them.  Jury's romance, and Plant's lack thereof.  The courtroom shenanigans of barristers, solicitors, and the wanna-bes.  Aunt Agatha and the Long Pidd denizens were like old friends I hadn't seen in a long time.

 

Oh, yes, and the murder.  Or murders, I should say. 

 

Although I liked Ruth Rendell's The Babes in the Wood, I felt the resolution was a little too much after the fact.  Here, however, Grimes held virtually nothing back.  All the information was there for the right person to put it together.

 

Two women are killed.  One is a well-known beauty who is almost universally disliked.  The other is an unattractive servant who is almost universally ignored.  One is shot; two weeks later the other strangled.  The local police inspector, one Arthur Bannen, has only circumstantial evidence, but it all points to a woman Scotland Yard's Richard Jury has more than a passing interest in.

 

In an attempt to collect additional information, Jury enlists his friend Melrose Plant to pose as an antiques appraiser.  Plant, the wealthy former earl, is none to eager but he agrees to learn just enough about a few important pieces.  He has no idea how valuable that knowledge will become, or how it will impact people who have absolutely nothing to do with the murder investigation.

 

I like reading about people I can care about.  Even though this is the first Grimes novel I've read in close to 20 years, I still felt as though I knew these characters.  Sgt. Wiggins with his allergies, Aunt Agatha with her . . . designs.  I enjoyed spending some time with them again.

 

Did I figure out who the murderer was?  Oh, toward the end I did, when a little bit more information was made available and a few people let some things slip.  But I'm not one of those who has a need to solve the case before the end of the book.  I'm content reading and discovering right along with the characters.

 

 

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text 2017-09-19 04:23
Reading progress update: I've read 115 out of 384 pages.
The Case Has Altered (Richard Jury Mysteries 14) - Martha Grimes

I'm enjoying this read, but probably for some of the wrong reasons.

 

The majority of the pages read so far are covering tangents to the murder investigation and the supporting players, especially Melrose Plant.  There are a lot of laugh out loud lines, for the right reasons. 

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text 2017-09-18 16:39
Reading progress update: I've read 60 out of 384 pages.
The Case Has Altered (Richard Jury Mysteries 14) - Martha Grimes

So far, I'm enjoying this.  I feel as if I'm revisiting old friends.

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text 2017-09-17 21:09
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 384 pages.
The Case Has Altered (Richard Jury Mysteries 14) - Martha Grimes

 

Back in the 1990s I went on a mystery reading binge.  I'm not sure what prompted it, but I remember one of the first titles I read was The Killings at Badger's Drift. I gobbled my way through Ellis Peters, both the Brother Cadfael books and others.  Martha Grimes and Sharyn McCrumb.  Elizabeth Peters and her alter ego Barbara Michaels. I can't remember all of them off the top of my head.

 

Grimes was among my favorites, and I read most of the Richard Jury books that had been published at that point.  I  still have seven of the paperbacks; the rest I borrowed from the library.  When I checked the series list just now, there was only one prior to The Case Has Altered that I don't recall reading.

 

Around 1997, when the whole www thing was just cranking up, an acquaintance contacted me about doing online book reviews.  She had connections to some publishers and/or PR people and could get just about as many mysteries as any dozen people could read and review.  There'd be no pay, other than the free books. I was fine with that!

 

I'm not sure how many reviews I wrote for her site.  She was disappointed that many of the other friends she had enlisted didn't know how to write reviews; they wrote book reports as though they were still in middle school or something.  I helped her edit some of those reviews before they went online, but it was a lot more work than she had anticipated.  After a few months, she gave it up.

 

Because of the promotional literature still tucked inside my copy of The Case Has Altered, I'm certain this was one of the last batch of books I received for review.  Whether I was disappointed that she had quite the enterprise or what, I never read the book.

 

Today seems like a good time to do so.

 

 

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review 2017-06-10 23:26
The Belle of Two Arbors
The Belle of Two Arbors - Paul Dimond,Martha Buhr Grimes

Belle has grown up in the wilds of Northern Michigan in Anne Arbor at the turn of the century. She loves going for long swims in the lake, hiking along the dunes and composing poetry. Young Belle became the caregiver to her younger brother Pip and her mother after Pip's birth took it's toll. Lovingly deemed Marmie by her brother, Belle continued her caretaker roll as her father ran the family stove business. After Belle's mother dies in a tragic accident, Belle becomes more involved in the family business, continues to care for her mother and begins the task of saying goodbye to her mother through poetry. At 21, Belle finally ventures off to college in Ann Arbor where she meets those who will become some of the most influential poets of the day. More importantly, she learns that her poetry stands up against the greats. While navigating college Belle still has a hand in her family business and assists Pip as he becomes an adult.


The Belle of Two Arbors is an epic tome that stretches US history through Belle's eyes from 1913 to 1953. Though Belle is fictional, her story shines light on many events in US history and is interwoven with the stories of poets, scholars and athletes who defined the time. Belle's character is immediately defined as strong, intelligent and sensitive. She is the original sandwich generation caretaker, expected to care for a parent and a child while still coming into her own. From the moment of her mother's death, I knew Belle would prove to be a force to be reckoned with. She proves this time and time again as she fights for women's rights, reproductive care, indigenous rights, equal rights and environmental conservation.

The writing in The Belle of Two Arbors is impressive; to carry me through several decades in almost 700 pages, Belle's story captivated and intrigued. In partnership with the poetry, the words painted a landscape and evoked strong feelings of love, loss and natural beauty. I truly did feel that the poetry was on par with the writers of the time.

Most importantly, for me, the history was brought alive. Through Belle and her real life people that have been entwined into her life I was able to get a glimpse into to life of Robert Frost and the creation of some of his poetry, a young Theodore Roethke and his troubled but inspirational journey, and Gertrude Ederle and her triumphs as the first female swimmer to cross the English Channel. Through time, I also witnessed Belle's triumphs through the Great Depression and World War II. Throughout everything, Belle's story reminds us that we are the greatest tool to shape the world around us.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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