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The Way of All Fish (Foul Matter #2)

3.13  ·  Rating Details ·  425 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
In Grimes’s new sendup of a world she knows very well, Candy and Karl, hitmen with a difference— they have scruples—once again venture into the murky Manhattan publishing scene. This time they come to the aid of a writer who is being sued by her unscrupulous literary agent, L. Bass Hess, a man determined to get a 15 percent commission for a book he didn’t sell.

The contract
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Scribner
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JulieLaLa Hi Laurie - I actually started this a few days ago, read till page 100 or so, then finally gave up! I love Martha Grimes, but this book presented too…moreHi Laurie - I actually started this a few days ago, read till page 100 or so, then finally gave up! I love Martha Grimes, but this book presented too many characters that weren't well-defined (so I couldn't remember who was who), a convoluted storyline and almost disjointed dialogue. Is it because I didn't read "Foul Matter", the first book, that I/we didn't get it? I don't know, but I've got too many other books to read to waste my time with books I don't like. (less)
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Washington Post
“The Way of All Fish” is completely different in tone from Grimes’s Richard Jury mysteries, and fans who haven’t read “Foul Matter” might need a few pages to catch up. Publishing also seems a less ripe target for satire than it did back in 2003. In the decade since “Foul Matter” appeared, someone seems to have taken out a hit on the entire industry.

Grimes has packed in plenty to amuse readers, from her ever-spiraling plot to the motley characters to allusions to classic mysteries by Dorothy L. S
Paul Pessolano
Dec 15, 2013 Paul Pessolano rated it it was ok
“The Way of All Fish” by Martha Grimes, published by Scribner.

Category – Mystery/Comedy Publication Date – January 07, 2014

Cindy Sella is a well known and published author who is being sued by her former agent, L. Bass Hess. She is being sued for commissions he did not receive for a book she wrote long after she released him as her agent.

Cindy finds help from two hit men, Candy and Karl, who dream up schemes that will get Hess out of her life. Candy and Karl, although they are hit men, do have
Mar 09, 2014 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not for anyone with a low tolerance for whimsy. I have mixed feelings. I enjoyed it well enough as I was reading, but the plot was so Rube Goldbergian in its complexity all "to get" an unscrupulous literary agent, who as bad as he was, seemed to be treated somewhat cruelly. I am sure any author who has dealt with such an individual would relish it, but what percentage of the population is that? Also it reminded me of my least favorite parts of the author's Richard Jury novels when Melros ...more
Aug 12, 2016 Cortana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
The Way of All Fish by Martha Grimes is a story that basically revolves around the publishing industry with Cindy Sella, a published author, who is taken to court by her former agent, L. Bass Hess, on the ground of non-payment of fifteen per cent commissions for a book she wrote long after being released as her agent. He is destroying Cindy's productivity by saddling her with an expensive nuisance lawsuit.

Martha populated the book with interesting characters like the two hit men, Candy and Karl,
May 28, 2014 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Imagine Carl Hiaasen, set in New York instead of Florida, with the bad guys as literary agents instead of ruthless developers, and you'll have an idea of The Way of All Fish. Martha Grimes has left behind her atmospheric British pubs sad detective hero for the Manhattan literary life and a couple of hit men with scruples and dese-dem-and-dose accents. Unfortunately, although the book is very funny in parts, it doesn't really hold together - too many people are doing too many things for too thinl ...more
Jan 11, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite not having read the prequel, Foul Matter, I had no problem enjoying The Way of All Fish, a whirlwind caper novel. In fact, I laughed aloud.

Two sentence summary: Two hit men choose to confuse rather than kill a publishing agent who is destroying an author's productivity by saddling her with an expensive nuisance lawsuit. Craziness ensues.

Fish. Alligator. Pigs. Macaw. Transgender uncle / aunt. Junk yard. Stoners. Precocious child. Coffee shop. Lawyers. Literary allusions. What book doesn't
Jan 25, 2014 Joyce rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finally crashed on through Martha Grimes' latest attempt to leave the British "Richard Jury" series behind. She left it behind, along with all of her best gifts in character, setting, perspective. In trying to join the leagues of satirists somewhere between Janet Evanovich and Tim Dorsey, she's spun off into a world of supposed humor with no great satirical purpose. I understand a writer's need to shift and grow, but Grimes has simply shrunken to nearly unreadable. The novel doesn't even merit ...more
Silly but fun. Like her more conventional mysteries better. Nevertheless, I plan to read the prequel, Foul Matter. At least I think it is a prequel.
Book sequels have my name written all over them, especially ones written by a favorite author, which explains my almost childlike delight with “The Way of All Fish.” Martha Grimes continues to explore the dark underbelly of the publishing industry she exposed ten years ago in her wicked satire, “Foul Matter.” Should we be concerned that the fictitious publishing conglomerate, Mackenzie-Haack, is now owned by ghost owners in Dubai? Could the industry be demonstrating less of a moral compass? What ...more
Jun 05, 2014 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
2.5 stars. I read this for a book club. It wasn't bad per say, I just kind of found it to be all over the place. The hit men were amusing, in the way that the hit men from Pulp Fiction were amusing. Other than that, I was at a loss in figuring out the point of this book. All these people want to get rid of this one guy because... he's an asshole? They're willing to spend millions of dollars to goof on a bunch of jerks? In defense of Cindy, who none of them really even knew? Also the fact that sh ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Wickedly funny and just the antidote for the winter blahs! I am only sorry Grimes has not written more books starring Karl and Candy, "two hit men with scruples." The cast of characters, and I do mean characters with a capital C, is well-developed and Grimes leaves no doubt which ones the reader should cheer on. They include a damsel in distress, dastardly literary agents and lawyers, druggies and tough broads along with contract killers and a questionable monk. The action begins when hit men bo ...more
Kristi Lamont
What utter and unbelievable silliness. That said, I really wish I could've given this book 2.5 stars, because I was thoroughly entertained by it. Also, I enjoyed recognizing the thinly disguised characters from the Richard Jury series. Nice cotton candy for the brain, best ingested poolside. It's just that it would do an injustice to my other 3s if I rated it thusly.
Feb 09, 2014 Hapzydeco rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Do not waste your time. (A contract hitman named Candy. Grimes’ sense of humor?) Read one from Grimes’ Richard Jury series.
Sep 11, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it
This book is...

Fish called Wanda meets Mysteries of Pittsburgh.
Samantha Adkins
Jan 16, 2016 Samantha Adkins rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I usually try to write only positive book reviews. I well know how much work goes into writing a book and I appreciate the effort and angst it takes to put yourself out there. However, Grimes is hailed as a bestselling author and I think she has likely enjoyed enough of the riches and rewards of actually making money from her writing to undergo closer inspection. Besides, if she is such a bestselling author, she will likely never read this.
It took until the middle of the book before I knew what
Jun 08, 2014 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martha Grimes is a superb mystery writer, official Grand Master, known for a number of series (the proper British Richard Jury/Melrose Plant, the teenage amnesiac Andi Oliver who battles animal abuse, and the literary mysteries of 12 year old sleuth Emma Graham). I highly recommend her poetry and short stories/novellas.
In 2003 after Grimes was "let go" from her long time publisher Knopf, she published a wickedly funny satire on the publishing industry, Foul Matter. Now in a sequel The Way of All
Sep 29, 2016 C3wach rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good.
Mar 03, 2015 Carin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read that this book was set in the world of NYC publishing, I couldn't wait to read it! And when I also saw one of the book's blurbs describe it as a lampoon, even better!

I had never read Martha Grimes before, and I'd say that this book isn't a mystery precisely, although it is twisty turny. Cindy is a bestselling novelist, whose latest novel is at a dead end, partly due to her preoccupation with a lawsuit. Her previous agent, Bass Hess, is suing her for his 15% on her most recent book, e
Jul 22, 2016 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So you say you don't much care for contract killers? This book just may change your mind.

Martha Grimes is one of my all-time favorite authors. I've been in love with her Richard Jury character since I was young enough to have crushes. Her delightful tongue-in-cheek humor is evident even in her more serious-minded murder mysteries, and she allows it full reign in this tumbling romp of a story.

Karl and Candy, our erstwhile hit-men, are very discriminating about whom they'll willingly knock off (th
...More publishing and murder from Martha Grimes
BookPage Review by Megan Fishmann

Martha Grimes—an official Grand Master crime writer—has returned. After the author was “let go” from her longtime publisher, Knopf, she responded with a best-selling novel, Foul Matter (2003), that tackled (and tore apart) the publishing industry. Now in a sequel, The Way of All Fish, Grimes continues to eviscerate the rapidly changing publishing world with her quick wit and colorful cast of characters.

The Way of Al
Richard Stueber
Apr 10, 2014 Richard Stueber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The hit-men Candy and Karl are back in this sequel to "Foul Matter" Their mission is not an outright assassination this time.
The author Cindy Sella is being sued by her former agent L. Bass Hess for his commission on a book he didn't work on. Cindy soon acquires a number of supporters whose mission is to get Bass Hess off of her case. Foremost of these is Paul Giverney from 'Foul Matter'. He develops an intricate plot to make make Hess's life a living hell and to drive him out of the publishing
Shirley Schwartz
I'm sorry, but I just didn't get it. I'm a huge Martha Grimes fan, and have read all of her books. Somehow I missed Foul Matter though but this book is a sequel to Foul Matter. Because I hadn't read the first book, I wasn't familar with the characters and that made the book puzzling to me right off the bat. But I'm afraid the book remained puzzling to me throughout. This series is supposed to be a spoof on the cutthroat publishing business. The two main characters are contract hitmen by the name ...more
Alexie Aaron
Jun 08, 2014 Alexie Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Watch your back Hiaasen! Why? Well, Martha Grimes has taken a brief trip to Florida and in has caressed the Everglades in her wonderful style of humor. If you're reading this and think, oh it's a Florida book, you'd be wrong, and it was cruel of me to mislead you. This wonderful book is about the zany justice two contract killers enact against an inscrutable agent. I can't without spoiling it tell you why they do it. Or how they drag characters from her previous work "Foul Matter" into it. But I ...more
Jocelyn Laing
Sep 11, 2016 Jocelyn Laing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
Apr 10, 2014 Q2 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read a book by Grimes before--this one came to me by way of a Goodreads Giveaway. I'm glad to have read it. Grimes sets up an intriguing world (this is the 2nd in a series) where two hit-men are actually the good guys! In this one, Grimes tackles the world of publishing--someone wants a mean publisher whacked, but Candy and Karl decide to take matters into their own hands and, as per usual, do things their way. The supporting cast of characters is charming--the "bad" guys are endearin ...more
Deborah Replogle
Jul 09, 2014 Deborah Replogle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
This book was a GoodReads giveaway and I enjoyed it very much. Thanks to publisher who listed it.

Grimes is one of my all time favorite authors, my favorite series being those the Emma Graham series, which uses elements of her own childhood to place her story. And yes, her Richard Jury series are very good, too. But I think I have a new favorite series reflecting the cut throat world of the New York publishing business, yet absurdly funny, too. I wonder if some of her publishing friends are squir
Oct 05, 2014 Scilla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a young woman author, Cindy. She has changed agents, and the former agent is trying to sue her to get a commission on a book which he didn't have anything to do with. Two hit men feel sorry for her and work to make the agent change his ways. The story begins with a shootout in the Clownfish cafe. A fish tank is shattered, and Cindy picks up one the flopping fish and places it with water into a baggie. The hit men don't want to kill the agent, but try to make him think he's los ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martha Grimes still writes the Jury/Plant novels, but this one is a continuation of a series about the publishing industry and the crazies who surround it. It is consistently funny. Who knew Grimes had that kind of nonstop humor in her? A book that starts with a shootout of sorts in a fish-themed restaurant (the Clown Cafe, Clown being the tropical fish), and the rescue of the restaurant's tropical fish by madly improvising restaurant clientele (the fish having been the target of the hit) is not ...more
Jun 25, 2016 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Candy and Karl are hit men who are different. If they decide the person they are hired to kill are "worthy" they will do the their own way. They are hired to take out a local literary agent, L. Bass Hess, a real litigious bastard who keeps his hooks into authors even when they leave his firm. The killers decide L. Bass is particularly deserving until they meet Cindy Sella, a beginning author, who is being sued by L. Bass for breach of contract for a book she published long after she lef ...more
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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
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Other Books in the Series

Foul Matter (2 books)
  • Foul Matter

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