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The Man With a Load of Mischief (Richard Jury #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  11,478 Ratings  ·  345 Reviews

Two pubs in Long Piddleton are the sights of two murders. Scotland Yard's Richard Jury gets some help from Long Piddleton's own Melrose Plant to root out evil in the heart of the village.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Onyx (first published 1981)
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Jun 14, 2007 Mary-Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Look, I am not going to apologize for loving Martha Grimes, especially the Richard Jury novels. I am fully willing to admit these are light reading, but that doesn't mean they aren't good.

I find that while Grimes continues writing for this series and pumps out a book a year, the cast of characters is still just damned entertaining. Grimes is good at capturing the same wit that I see in British comedy even though she's an American.

However, and this is a big caveat, don't look for realism here. A
Joyce Lagow
Jun 05, 2012 Joyce Lagow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The first in the Richard Jury series, Man With a Load of Mischief introduces most of the recurring major characters in the series. We meet, to our delight, Melrose Plant, his obnoxious aunt, Lady Ardry, and Jury himself, who is not your ordinary Scotland Yard detective.[return][return]Alas, Long Piddleton, which could very well pose as the quintessential English village in the snow, is host to a double murder on the eve of Christmas. The local constabulary calls in Scotland Yard, and Chief Super ...more
This is the first novel in Martha Grimes’ long-running British police procedural series featuring Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. The book was originally published in 1981 so the reader must realize from the outset that there will be no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no pocket-sized personal cameras to aid in solving the murder. It will be an eyes, ears, brain and door-to-door investigation.

And, the author makes more than the identity of the murderer a mystery.

First, she giv
Oct 24, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-shelf
It's hard to believe I've never read a Richard Jury mystery. But, this is my first, but won't be my last. I loved it.
This the first book in the series. Jury is with Scotland Yard. He gets called into a small village after two murders have been committed. Jury makes friends with Melrose Plant, who is a big help in the investigation. I presume Plant will work with Jury again someday.
Grimes sets up a great, keeps you guessing, who done it. The author has a great sense of humor as well. I loved the
Will North
Sep 03, 2014 Will North rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know you are in the hands of a master when a mystery is simultaneously complex, lyrically-written, character-rich...and hilarious.

This was Grimes's first in the Jury series and she went on from strength to strength which, given how much time she must have spent in the pubs for which each book is named, is almost miraculous! In as sense, Grimes mysteries are character studies, and what a cast of regular characters she creates, from thoughtful and handsome Inspector Richard Jury and his hypoc
I've decided to give myself a treat with my summer reading by indulging mostly in my guilty pleasures - that is to say mysteries. And in so doing, I plan to delve into some of the series which I haven't sampled before, starting with Martha Grimes' Inspector Richard Jury series.

This has been recommended to me at various times over the years, but, for some reason, I just never got into it. Maybe because I was busy reading several other series. But time to break new ground and meet some new charact
Richard Ward
Dec 06, 2014 Richard Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of British murder mysteries.
3 1/2 stars, but it made me laugh out loud at least once, so I'll round up. The main protagonist is a cop and I don't like cops, as they represent government, which means they represent the use of brute force instead of reason. So I always prefer a detective who is either an amateur, like Miss Marple or Peter Wimsey; or else a private investigator, like Sherlock Holmes or Nero Wolfe. The protagonist of this series, Richard Jury, is fine as far as a cop protagonist goes, but it was the host of qu ...more
Dec 17, 2014 Kara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know where to start, Im so excited about this series! I listened to it on audio, and I have to say the first 2 hours were rough, though I;m not sure why. There was a lot to follow at the beginning, and I think I was afraid it was going to be full of descriptions of characters I didn't know if I should be caring about or not. Somewhere right after the 2 hour mark the action picked up and I was hooked from there. I also think the narration took some getting use to. Though Steve West i ...more
Kristi Lamont
Apr 19, 2015 Kristi Lamont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear goodness how I do love me some Richard Jury! (And Martha Grimes' style of writing and sense of humor.) Ages ago I read the third in this series just to get a taste of it, see if I wanted to commit. Um, well, yeah! Local library did not have first two, so I went old-school and bought them in paperback. Have been saving them for "just the right time" . . . . meaning, both when I could read the two of them in a day or two, and when I knew I was going to have a stretch of time to commit to the ...more
Oct 19, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's Christmas-time in the tiny village of Little Piddleton and bodies are piling up as quickly as the snow. Strangers to the town are showing up dead in the local pubs and Richard Jury is sent from Scotland Yard to investigate. While most of the locals suspect an outsider, Jury quickly narrows down the suspect pool to a few prominent locals.

There was no way of knowing what year this book was taking place and I found that very annoying. Obviously it was pre-cell phone and because somebody asked
Aug 29, 2016 Joan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always been a follower of Martha Grimes but never had the opportunity to read some
of her early books. This one was written about 1981. They are all murder mysteries set in
England and usually in small villages. This book introduces New Scotland Yard's Inspector
Richard Jury. Jury is sent to the village of Long Piddleton at Christmas time to solve some
murders. One, a William Small was found dead with his head in a barrel of ale. Another man
named Ainsley was propped up in place of a wooden fi
Marsha Cornelius
Dec 26, 2011 Marsha Cornelius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of Martha Grimes, but a friend gave me a whole box of paperbacks, and I found this book in the pile.
British humor, but very clever and easy to get the subtleties. I'm planning on reading more of her books.
Apr 12, 2014 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book and will probably read more of this series
Dec 13, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Christmas themed murder mystery.

(This is as "merry" as I get!)
The first in the Richard Jury mystery series, beloved by my niece and her Mom. And I see why! Everything I love in a mystery: A quirky/interesting protagonist (Inspector, Detective, Commissario, amateur sleuth, etc.), an assistant or two, a civilian side-kick who helps solve the mysteries, a superior who is superfluous/annoying, a wonderful cast of characters who add to the dynamics, humor, romantic/sexual tension, a place that is equally a character, crazy names (places and people) etc. This on ...more
Brandy Painter
I really enjoyed this book at first. It is a classic who-done-it mystery in which there are multiple suspects and no real clear evidence. Yet the bodies keep piling up. I loved the portrayal of small British village life. I was thoroughly enjoying the character of Richard Jury and thinking this would be a book (and series) I could really get into do despite the sometimes overwrought use of figurative language. (Seriously, the similes in this are way over the top.)


There is insta-love
Aug 09, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in the Richard Jury series. I read one of the later books--I think that it was about the 22nd in the series and liked it, but thought that I should go back and see how the series and the reationships among the major characters developed over the years. It's just before Christmas and two pubs in a small English village have each found a dead body--which I assume is not good for business.. One body is found in a keg of beer and the other is discovered on the beam outside of the pub holdi ...more
Sep 02, 2009 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I read a Martha Grimes mystery years ago and loved it. My father-in-law gave me another recently, and I loved it, which resparked my interest in her books. She's an American, but Grimes writes an excellent classic British mystery.

This is the first in the series of Richard Jury mysteries. We are introduced to all the main characters that will reappear in the further books - Melrose Plant, his aristocratic sidekick; Wiggins, his hypochondriacal sergeant; Marshall Trueblood, the gay antiques deale
Feb 12, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, mysteries
It took me a little while to get into this book, but I ended up liking it enough to get the second one from the library. It is a typical "Christie-esque" British cozy mystery, centering around various pubs at Christmas time in England. The setting is quaint, there are murders aplenty, and it had a satisfying ending. I didn't love all the main characters. I had a hard time with Jury himself, trying to get a hold on his character. I really disliked the recurring presence of the aunt of one of the ...more
THE MAN WITH A LOAD OF MISCHIEF (English Police Procedural) – VG
Martha Grimes – 1st of series
An Onyx Book, 2003 (Reprint from 1981) - Paperback
It’s Christmas time in Long Pittleton. When the second of two murders occurs with the bodies found in two separate pubs, one with his head stuck in a beer keg and the other draped over the pub sign beam, Det. Chief Inspector Richard Jury is sent to investigate.
*** Talk about a full cast of characters, that word being truly appropriate, including two sma
Jan 24, 2010 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read all of Martha Grimes' books years ago when they were first published, until I got to The Horse You Came in On, which I couldn't stand. I haven't read any since. My sister got me remembering these books the other day, so I went back to the beginning and read this, the first in the series. I enjoyed it very much. I like the main character, Richard Jury, and I particularly like the soon-to-be sidekick: Melrose Plant. The plot was clever, and I was able to figure out the bad guy for myself (a ...more
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Dec 04, 2014 Hope rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Ok for what it is, although it is fairly dated, with several offensive stereotypes offered up as character descriptions. No way for the reader to figure out the murderer along with the police, since some of the clues aren't fully revealed until afterward.
Art Proulx
Nov 20, 2014 Art Proulx rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first of her books and currently reading # 2 and find them both very good reading.
Will read more of her books
Aug 01, 2013 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first started this series in college because I liked the idea of the titles being named after English pubs. I remember enjoying Inspector Richard Jury & his friend Melrose Plant. When I first started re-reading this book on the Kindle (the series has just recently gone digital) I was disappointed. Melrose's Aunt Agatha is very annoying & I couldn't imagine reading about her character in book after book. Once again Jury & Plant won me over and I would read the next book in the serie ...more
Sep 07, 2014 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Martha Grimes mystery I have read. I chose well because I would definitely read another and will search them out at the next used book sale I go to. The Man With a Load of Mischief is the quirky name of an English pub/inn in the small hamlet of Long Piddleton on the Piddle River, where the first (maybe) murder is committed. Lots of twists and turns and amusing individuals in this who-done-it. Favorite characters of mine are the ubiquitous Lady Ardry, the hilariously oversexed S ...more
Pamela Mclaren
I'm not sure how Martha Grimes does it but she creates a small village with a wild cast of characters (almost like a comedy) and then places within it a very serious murder that brings Chief Inspector Richard Jury into the midst of said village and people. And from there comes a delicious story with enough twists and turns to keep any mystery reader following along hungrily. I enjoyed it all from nearly the beginning (felt just a tad slow but it is the first in the series) to the exciting finish ...more
Nov 05, 2014 JulieLaLa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Boy!!! I just loved this book and can't wait to dive into the whole series! Ms. Grimes, where have you been all my (reading) life? I loved the setting, the characters, the writing style, the pace, the mystery, just everything!!! Although first published in 1982, the story feels very "right now", except for the lack of cell phones, everybody smoking indoors, and references to Robert Redford!
Jun 06, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
As a big fan of English mystery writers and the great quirky detectives they produce , I had such fun reading Grimes-although an American- she knows the genre so well- the humour, the classes-she should be British. Her New Scotland Yard's Richard Jury is just great but I may like Melrose Plant even more. This one is loaded with suspects and characters- all so classic English mystery (think CLUE- was it Miss Scarlet in the library with the candlestick?). And you keep reading , picking up the clue ...more
Oct 12, 2016 Jonas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humanities
The Man With the load of Mischief may sound like a weird title for a book, but Martha Grimes has done a good job of creating a fun but dark mystery with likeable characters and some, not so much.

The story is told from a 3rd person view, with one of the main characters, Inspector Richard Jury filling that role. When two mysterious murders occur in the same day, both in pubs, Inspector Jury is called out to the scene. While he is investigating, three more murders take place, all connected, somehow
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Superb series 30 62 Aug 05, 2015 10:47PM  
  • Death of a Peer (Roderick Alleyn, #10)
  • A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #1)
  • Hangman's Holiday: A Collection of Short Mysteries (Lord Peter Wimsey, #9)
  • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3)
  • The Black Tower (Adam Dalgliesh, #5)
  • Police at the Funeral (Albert Campion Mystery #4)
  • The Killings at Badger's Drift (Chief Inspector Barnaby #1)
  • A Clubbable Woman (Dalziel & Pascoe, #1)
Martha Grimes is an American author of detective fiction.

She was born May 2 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to D.W., a city solicitor, and to June, who owned the Mountain Lake Hotel in Western Maryland where Martha and her brother spent much of their childhood. Grimes earned her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Maryland. She has taught at the University of Iowa, Frostburg State University, and Montg
More about Martha Grimes...

Other Books in the Series

Richard Jury (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • The Old Fox Deceiv'd (Richard Jury, #2)
  • The Anodyne Necklace (Richard Jury, #3)
  • The Dirty Duck (Richard Jury, #4)
  • Jerusalem Inn (Richard Jury, #5)
  • Help the Poor Struggler (Richard Jury #6)
  • The Deer Leap (Richard Jury #7)
  • I Am the Only Running Footman (Richard Jury, #8)
  • The Five Bells and Bladebone (Richard Jury, #9)
  • The Old Silent (Richard Jury, #10)
  • The Old Contemptibles (Richard Jury, #11)

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“And so it continued all day, wynde after wynde, from a room beyond came the whistle of a teakettle. "Now, you really must join me. I've some marvelous Darjeeling, and some delicious petits fours a friend of mine gave me for Christmas.” 2 likes
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