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The Black Cat (Richard Jury #22)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  2,995 Ratings  ·  378 Reviews
Richard Jury is still dealing with the guilt of the accident that sent Lu Aquilar into a coma. But then he gets assigned the case of a beautiful woman who was murdered on the grounds of a pub called the Black Cat. And the only witness is a black cat. The woman is unidentifiable-but Jury is going to see that the person responsible is known to all...
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Signet (first published March 31st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 23, 2010 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I paused another book to read this one right away. If I had to choose one favorite author it would be Martha Grimes. I don't want to give away much about this one but it has the fey sense of humor, the kind of magic slightly alternate universe and the return of Mungo, the dog who rescues humans and here, cats. It was just wonderful.
Grimes, Martha. THE BLACK CAT. (2010). ***. This is not one of Grimes’ better efforts, but, then, I should have known better than to pick up a mystery novel with the word “cat” in the title. To add insult to injury, there are even several chapter where the cat and a dog communicate with each other – silently, of course, but in human word thoughts. That’s going too far, especially when the cat of the title was a red herring to begin with. The novel features Richard Jury, an Inspector from the CID ...more
May 15, 2010 Dee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2010 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story had many references to prior cases handled by the detective, Richard Jury and it would have been helpful to have read them before. But this was my first read of this author. It is written with a sense of humor and an interesting plot. Cats and dogs figure in the plot line quite while as they take an interest in the goings on and contribute to the mystery. A fun read.
Perhaps more of a 3+ but I love Martha Grimes, Richard Jury, Melrose Plant, Sgt Wiggins, the whole gang so I will plunge ahead with a 4. I keep expecting to get fed up with the lot of them, my usual MO with ongoing series, but somehow the mix of whimsy, quirky characters and police procedure works for me and I keep being quite happy with each new mystery. This particular offering features beautiful, expensive and strappy designer shoes ... I love shoes, used to really, really love shoes, now I l ...more
Jun 01, 2010 Angie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I DID enjoy this book in spite of the annoyances in it, but I cannot recommend it. I found so many obvious errors that it is hard to believe the editors let it through.For example, a single woman, had the same last name as her maternal aunt. This COULD happen, but it would be so unusual as to require some kind of comment. Later Melrose Plant uses an assumed name to engage an escort service and then gives his own credit card number.This would have immediately uncivered his ruse, since the names w ...more
Jun 08, 2010 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Patti by: Viking
I finally read my first Richard Jury mystery (and I can hear several fellow mystery fans saying "You haven't read Martha Grimes?!"), and it was the most recent in the series, The Black Cat. It was very kindly sent to me for review by Viking.

The Black Cat has several references in the book--there is the pub called The Black Cat, and no less than 3 actual black cats, one of which goes missing for awhile.

I enjoyed this book very much, and now need to go and read the rest of the series involving Ri
I enjoyed this Richard Jury mystery more than the last few Martha Grimes has published. The murder and investigation were interesting - an unidentified woman is found dead, wearing a designer dress and shoes. Who was she? As the mystery unfolds other women are murdered. Jury is sure they are connected, but how?

In a typical Jury mystery we usually have a nice (funny) secondary story involving Melrose Plant and the Long Pidd crew. Melrose shows up (although his sideline doesn't get going until the
Jul 20, 2010 KarenC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to KarenC by: follow the series, Richard Jury
An amusing entry in the Richard Jury series. No, the murders were not amusing, but the characters and the animal sidebars were. Designer shoes play a significant role in this story that gets its story line from a classic film. Is Jury having a mid-life crisis? His character has changed during this and the previous book; he seems much more casual about life. While his "lover" Lu Aguilar lies in the hospital and he thinks about her, he doesn't make it to visit her very often, even though she is in ...more
Aug 09, 2010 Anna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have not read the Richard Jury novels and have no intention of doing so.
I need to first state that I have loved everyone of the Richard Jury novels through The Blue Last. I sort of liked the two that came next. Second, let me say I have no intention of ever reading another Martha Grimes novel, even this one. I think Ms. Grimes really meant to kill Richard Jury off in The Blue Last, which would have been a perfectly acceptable way to close the series, so that she could move on from the brit mystery genre and work on her contemporary crime thrillers (which have all be ...more
Aug 21, 2010 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I use to be such a Richard Jury fan. Or I should say a Melrose Plant fan. I continue to read this series because I loved them so much in the past. I think Ms. Grimes is a wonderful authoress and reading her past books often feels like attending one of her writing courses at Johns Hopkins. Especially when she uses her romance novel writing character to discuss life in "the business". But this one felt flat. Superintendent Richard Jury accuses his Scotland Yard partner, Wiggins, of not being Wiggi ...more
Oct 03, 2010 Lea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
Richard Jury is a Superintendent (a high-ranking detective for American readers) with the Metropolitan Police in London. He is aided in his cases by his sergeant, the long-suffering Wiggins, and his best friend, Melrose Plant, a wealthy nobleman who Jury met during the first book in this series. Plant, who has given up his title, spends most of his time drinking at the local pub and finding ways to help (and torture) Jury. There is also a wide cast of characters in these books, so many that I've ...more
Feb 05, 2011 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
The Jury novels have lately become noticeably formulaic, particularly now that Jury is obsessed with Harry Johnson and Mungo. I think this is the third book in a row? It's completely interfering with whatever mystery might be going on, to the point where this book didn't actually make much sense.
Mar 20, 2011 Betted rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is another Martha Grimes Richard Jury novel, but not JUST another novel. As always, Grimes is full of fresh ideas and plot twists and it isn’t always the murder investigation that holds your attention when you read one of her books. Her characters are often highly improbable but loveable. For instance, in one book the very rich Melrose Plant, who gave up his title but not his estate, and is a friend and sometimes unpaid assistant to Superintendent Jury, hunted for scones with or without clo ...more
Jul 06, 2011 Jaci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this and it was beautifully read. Morris, the cat, and Mungo, the dog, are actually prime movers in this murder mystery. Escort service women are being murdered, shoes being quite a significant clue, and Richard Jury is at his best. My favorite parts seem to deal with other animals (names: Aggrieved and Aghast) and the relationship of Dora to Morris. Lots of intelligent conversation and quips and references...made me happy, esp. since I can no longer wear 4" heels. Sigh.
Candice Arnold
This book had a nice unexpected twist. That much I liked.

What I don't like is that Richard Jury is getting grumpier with each novel, which is in keeping with how old he should be, but at odds with how old he's said to be in the book.

About two or three years have passed since Martha Grimes first started writing the Richard Jury mysteries. Sue Grafton's novels are the same way. A year will pass in real time, but only a week or month has passed in Kinsey Millhone's world. The difference is that Kin
Feb 27, 2013 Becca18158 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think anyone who loves shoes will love this story! Parts of it are hokey with the conversations between the cats and the dog - but the shoe references are amazing - even for someone like me who can only vaguely remember the great shoe designers!!!
The Black Cat is the 22nd book in the Richard Jury series by Martha Grimes, set in modern-day London. Superintendent Jury of New Scotland Yard is called to an outlying village to investigate the murder of an unknown young woman in expensive designer clothes and shoes near The Black Cat pub. Jury soon learns that the victim was a local, not recognized at first due to the unfamiliar clothes and a different haircolor. He discovers her secret life as an escort in London. Additional murders of escort ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read all 22 Richard Jury novels now and this one makes me a bit sad.

Superintendent Jury has a purely physical fling with a female Inspector, while continuing his decades-long melancholy over having no long-term romantic relationship or marriage. The woman Inspector was injured in the last novel "Dust" and now lies in a coma, while Jury is on fire to flee from her bedside, both feeling guilty but relieved and somehow responsible. This may all be a reflection of the author's evaluation of he
Jul 20, 2012 Knitme23 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed The Black Cat after a long break from Martha Grimes's Richard Jury novels. As usual, Grimes provides an odd combo of murder, detection, personal demons, quirky characters, and what really feels like complex inside jokes. I read The Old Wine Shades three? two? years ago and enjoyed/was frustrated by Grimes's deliberate refusal to solve the mystery/punish the bad guy/explain anything, and The Black Cat (there are actually three black cats--and three dogs--and they do communicate t ...more
Mary Ellen
Sep 06, 2012 Mary Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans who like a large dose of canine and feline involvement
Shelves: mysteries
Why do I keep reading Martha Grimes? I am always disappointed that the newer Jury mysteries are not as good as the initial ones. I would like to give this 2 1/2 stars. After all, it engaged me enough that I kept reading. But I did a lot of skimming to keep from losing my mind or throwing it across the room, so 3 stars would be too much.

What I disliked:
any time Carole-Anne, Jury's jealous, gorgeous and dim-witted upstairs neighbor, makes an appearance.
that Jury must be pushing 80 by now (I notice
May 12, 2014 Margaret rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know why I persist with this series. The hero is an annoying emasculated vacuum who drips around inspecting his own belly-button until the solution basically falls into his lap. There always seem to be small children around without appropriate adult supervision - quite often without parents, apparently. And the books seem to be set in some weird amalgamation of Dickensian England and the late 20th century - any kind of physical disability clearly dooms a person to a half-life in t ...more
May 07, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off - I am JUST getting into the genre of murder mysteries. This is the first Martha Grimes book I have read and I am newly introduced to the characters.

Having said that, I found it a tad hard to follow who was who in this book as I had no history of the characters. Also, the author doesn't always outright say who is saying what - rather she goes back and forth with dialogue. The only trouble is - the dialogue is not so particular to an individual that I don't always know who is talking at
Superintendent Richard Jury of New Scotland Yard is assigned to investigate the murder of a young woman whose body was found on the grounds of a pub called the Black Cat. The woman carried no identification but was expensively dressed.

Jury learns that the woman's name was Mariah Cox and she worked at the local library but also had a secret life as an escort in London.

A side story tells of the ward of the current manager of the Black Cat. The little girl's cat is missing and she's upset and asks
Mar 10, 2016 Lorena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
Disappointed. This is the third mystery fiction book I read and I can't believe am not liking any of them. Maybe "The purloined letter", "Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The adventures of Sherlock Holmes" etc. destroyed my ability to like any other detective/investigator.

The plot had few interesting parts which impressed me a little, mainly when Jury's colleague gave several hints and alluded on a murderer's motives. The analogy with Poe's "The Black Cat", Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and "Strangers in a
After the disappointment of Dust, I found Martha Grimes to be a bit more back to form with this penultimate entry in her Richard Jury series. It had dogs and cats and children and the recurring characters that we've come to expect in the series. The plot was pretty well done and there were plenty of red herrings as well as foreshadowing of clues to send us toward the solution.

Moreover, in this one, the Long Piddleton contingent made only a very brief and mostly unannoying appearance. That was a
Sep 14, 2016 Marsha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
The author is long-winded. Fortunately her 66 chapters are short, so by chapter 55 I was skimming. She clearly has fun writing. The characters are amusing. This book includes a telepathic black cat and dog. I may read the 1st or 2nd book in the Richard Jury series to see if it is me not caring for this style of English mystery cozy writing, or did the author succumb to the fate of a series that has grown weary and should be retired.
Sep 13, 2016 Pebbles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I shared a devotion to these books featuring Detective Inspector Richard Jury with my late Mom. Written by Martha Grimes, each book returns me to a world filled with memorable quirky characters who argue and follow clues and stretch my powers of deduction- over the years they have almost become family. Start at #1 and keep going!
Oct 04, 2016 Torii rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Melrose is such a loveable snob, and Jury just knows how to push his buttons. As always, I feel like I am visiting with old friends when I read this series.
Oct 08, 2016 C3wach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another entertaining story except for the talking animals.
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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 Man With a Load of Mischief (Richard Jury, #1)
  • 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)

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“Elf made his way fuzzily back to the drawer, trying to think nasty thoughts about his tormentor (Mungo the dog) but he couldn't, as he was too little and his mind was formless and without messages.
( "Elf" the tiny kitten Mungo tormented )”
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