Friday, February 10, 2012

The Old Fox Deceiv'd by Martha Grimes

I just finished reading The Old Fox Deceiv'd by Martha Grimes. The book is the second in the Richard Jury serie
s, and as with the other books in the series, the title comes from the name of a pub that slightly features in the book. In fact, in this book, the action is very slight indeed. CID Inspector, Richard Jury is called up to a small town in the North of England to investigate the murder of Gemma Temple, murdered in costume on Twelfth Night. The question, though, was if Gemma Temple was in fact Dillys March, long-lost ward of Sir Titus Crael, wealthy, local landowner. Melrose Plant, wealthy former Lord Ardry,   is visiting the Craels and gets to join in the detection fun as he did in the first book. It would seem to me that as the series progresses, it will become more difficult to get Plant involved in Jury's investigations, but that's how fictional mysteries are.

The mystery in this book was a good one, and I enjoyed figuring out whodunit (and no, I didn't guess it this time). My favorite character was a young boy, Bertie Makepeace who has been left to fend for himself by a mother who is more interested in herself. Fortunately, Bertie has a level head on his shoulders, and a super-intelligent dog named Arnold. Jury and Plant travel to London to gather information on Gemma Temple, and in the search, find out something about Sir Titus' family, deceased Lady Margaret and the deceased elder son Rolfe, and younger son, Julian. The Crael family has many hidden skeletons in the closet, and all comes out under Jury's investigation. We learn that Julian's adamant hatred of Dillys would be more aptly described as great love.

The book was an entertaining read. I like the interactions between Plant and Jury. The human side of both come out in the case of Bertie Makepeace. The mystery was a good one. I do wonder if I just happened to miss the piece that lead to the solution. I think that I might have read it, but not picked up on it. There were suggestions throughout the book, but because I missed the initial puzzle piece, the suggestions did nothing for me. Overall, the book is a good read, and I have plans to read more in the series. 

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