Friday, May 28, 2010

Old Friends

In my ongoing attempt to lighten up a little bit in my reading, I decided to go back to Martha Grimes whose books I used to love until I realized that they were pretty formulaic and I had to move on. For some reason I decided to download her latest in the long running and very popular Richard Jury series, the one in which every title is named for a British pub. What's not to like about that? Listening to The Black Cat was like getting together with old friends that you haven't seen in ages and realizing that you still really enjoy each other's company.

Supt. Jury, while not as complex a character as P.D. James's brooding Adam Dalgliesh, is still an interesting man who proves worthy of his promotions. His sparring yet comfortable relationships with Sgt. Wiggins, his sidekick, and Carol Ann, his quirky upstairs neighbor, who watches over him like a mother hen, render him very human even as he mourns the end of a relationship with Lu Aguilar, paralyzed and in a coma from a horrific accident in a previous novel.

At the Black Cat Pub a stunningly decked out body clad in Jimmy Choos (THAT got my attention) turns up dead with only the local cat as a witness. As the investigation proceeds we find out that the glamorous female victim worked part time for an exclusive escort agency but during the week she was just a low-paid, plain looking - you guessed it - librarian! Can't these authors make us more interesting in our own right? I don't know any dull librarians.

At any rate, the deaths mount up, escorts all dressed in Louis Vuiton and Manolo Blahniks. Naturally suspicion falls on the men who hired these women. Jury, on the other hand, is nursing an old grudge against a man who previously got away with murder and for a while drops the ball on the current investigation as he fixates on the wrong culprit. Add to the mix an excessively cheerful wife of the local constabulary who, though confined to a wheelchair, harbors an unhealthy fascination with designer shoes.

Sure, I guessed the name of the culprit before the superintendent did but that's ok. Reading Martha Grimes is like having a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of tomato soup; comfort food.

No comments: