The Old Success
It's only fair: in Vertigo 42, New Scotland Yard superintendent Richard Jury sought help from his old schoolmate, Devon-Cornwall police commander Brian Macalvie. In The Old Success, Macalvie has Jury return the favor when a woman dead from a gunshot is found on the beach at Bryher's Hell Bay, on the Isles of Scilly. The victim, a Frenchwoman, was staying at the Hell Bay Hotel for reasons unclear.
Soon Jury has another bullet-felled corpse to deal with: at a country estate in Northampton, Flora Flood was training a gun on her husband, from whom she had been separated for two years, when he was fatally shot--but not by her, she claims. Following a third murder by bullet--this time at Exeter Cathedral--Jury initially resists the idea that there's a single killer responsible: How could this be possible when the three murders are geographically scattered? But, then, this is a Martha Grimes mystery.
The Old Success, Grimes's 25th Jury novel, has the hallmarks of her beloved series: a twisty plot, rat-a-tat banter and a scramble of oddball characters, many from previous Jury titles. (While appreciating The Old Success doesn't require a familiarity with the earlier Jury books, knowing something about these eccentrics will serve readers well during the carnivalesque pub scenes.) Grimes is also generous with side plots; one supplies comic relief via Jury's frequent right hand, amateur sleuth Melrose Plant, whose social-climbing American aunt may drive him to commit a crime of his own. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer