Joyce Lagow's Reviews > The Old Fox Deceiv'd

The Old Fox Deceiv'd by Martha Grimes
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Apr 20, 10

bookshelves: mystery

The second in the Richard Jury series.[return][return]Always the object of Chief Superintendent Racer's malice,again out of the order of the rota, Racer sends Jury and Wiggens to Rackmoor, a fishing village on the North Sea, to assist in the investigation of the bizarre murder of a young woman who may or may not be the long-missing stepdaughter of a local baronet, Sir Titus Crael. The victim, Gemma Temple, is costumed in black-and-white, including her face, one half of which is black, the other white. She has been stabbed, but the wounds are puzzling--no one can determine what the murder weapon was.[return][return]By chance, Melrose Plant has been invited to the Crael house as well. For the second time, he teams up with Jury and Wiggins in a murder investigation. Along with the murder, there is the case of Bertie Makepiece, a an intelligent, practical 12 year old boy whose mother has been on an extended, suspicious visit to northern Ireland, supposedly to attend a sick granny. Bertie is not alone, however; he is accompanied by his terrier, Arnold, who is quite possiby the smartest character in the whole story. Bertie and Arnold play crucial roles in the solving of the crime.[return][return]The plot is a solid one. The writing is typical Martha Grimes in the series, with distinctive characterizations. As usual, the major humor centers around Melrose Plant, especially in his relationship with his aunt, Lady Ardry. Jury himself is by no means lacking in humor, but it is of a quieter, more ironic kind; Plant's interactions with his aunt are many times nothing short of laugh-out-loud (or at least giggle).[return][return]The climax is well done. The book is not a page-turner but in many ways, a well-plotted police procedural that allows Grimes freedom to play with characters for whom she obviously has great affection and to add a great deal of local color in the form of believable and entertaining characters as well as setting and customs. As usual, a child (or children) features prominently in the story; Grimes clearly loves and respects children and handles them deftly.[return][return]Grimesism: "To have her around would be like always having a sore throat".[return]Highly recommended.
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