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Vertigo 42 (Richard Jury #23)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,390 Ratings  ·  409 Reviews
In her latest Richard Jury mystery, Martha Grimes delivers the newest addition to the bestselling series The Washington Post calls “literate, lyrical, funny, funky, discursive, bizarre.” The inimitable Scotland Yard Superintendent returns, now with a tip of the derby to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the forty-seco
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Scribner (first published June 1st 2014)
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Margaret If so I missed that. I just finished the book and would have to completely reread, but seems to me he was active in the 70's. Was it his father who…moreIf so I missed that. I just finished the book and would have to completely reread, but seems to me he was active in the 70's. Was it his father who was in codes? Or, of course, she might have made an error, possibly influenced by being in her 80's herself.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Margaret Just finished the book and saw no indication that the two Tesses were the same but it was clear that they were not. Poor Kenneth, desparate for roots,…moreJust finished the book and saw no indication that the two Tesses were the same but it was clear that they were not. Poor Kenneth, desparate for roots, leaped to a conclusion that the Tess he knew was his birth mother.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sheila Beaumont
It's been quite a while since the last Richard Jury mystery, so I was overjoyed to discover Vertigo 42. Like the previous books in the series, this one has a delightful regular cast of characters (Melrose Plant, Aunt Agatha, Sergeant Wiggins, Carole-anne Palutski, et al.), a light touch, and literate prose. The author even uses the phrase "begging the question" correctly, a real rarity these days!

As with the earlier books, this one is hilarious, but there's also a substantial mystery plot, invol
The books in this series have been must-reads for me for years. The storylines are generally good but where they really shine is in the quirky supporting characters and the amusing banter that flows so easily between them. There is a recurring set of characters that I eagerly look forward to spending time with each time I open a new book in the series, knowing that they will have me smiling and feeling right at home.
Vertigo 42 was a decent read but not of the same standard as most of the earlier
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was quite a disappointment. It was too disorganized, vague and filled with superficial elements. I have been in Jury’s camp since the beginning but there are so many references in the book that hark back to character traits and actions in previous books that I found did nothing to develop character or move the story forward. Also, the repeated comments on designer clothes and shoes seemed like product placement in a movie. I am longing for Richard Jury to develop as a character not as a ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it
As much as I love the Jury & Plant characters and all the other wacky familiar folk in this series, this one was weak. It was as if everyone was too distracted to just get on with figuring out the mysteries. Yes, more than one -- with a couple of them being very cold cases indeed. But, what I think is really going on here, Ms Grimes is too distracted by all her other irons-in-the-fire to put her massive talent to work on her Jury mysteries. Come on, Martha, they're your best sellers and your ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really MISSED Richard Jury and his oddball friends and associates - Wiggans, Plant, Trueblood and more. Apparently Grimes struggled with this book. I'm glad she finally wrote it. She is in her early 80's, and one can't help but wonder how many books she has left. Like other favorites, I always enjoy revisiting her characters. They've become almost like old friends. I guess they really are when you think about it! In this book, Jury is asked to revisit a twenty plus year old case of a woman who ...more
Mary Clark
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
A better Richard Jury than I've read in some time, but there was one baffling error. I kept re-reading the two pages to see if I'd read it wrong. I wish I knew someone who'd read it to see if they can explain:)
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story went back and forth so many times my brain went numb.

I have been a huge fan of Martha Grimes' Richard Jury mystery novels, until that is, I read a few which seemed HUGELY incredible and sort of boring, to be honest. I always loved the cast of characters Grimes works with, however: tall, handsome Richard Jury, police superintendent in London; Wiggins, his sidekick; Carolanne who lives upstairs from Jury and though she appears to be scatter-brained, def. is not. There's also Melrose Pla
Shirley Schwartz
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-5-star-reads
It's been four long years since we've had a new Richard Jury book, and I for one am glad we had the wait. That made this book so very welcome. And it's an excellent book. The plot is intricate and there are plenty of surprises throughout. All of this interspersed with dry humour and truly wonderful characters. The case that Jury is working on this time is one not assigned by Scotland Yard. A man is certain that his wife's death was not an accident. The fact that the death happened 17 years ago d ...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
2.5/5; 3 stars; B-

I have long been a fan of this series and still enjoy the camaraderie and police work presented in each addition to the series. This was not my favorite but I still enjoyed it overall.

Things I liked:
-The much loved cast of characters from most of the Richard Jury books (Melrose, Carolann, etc)
- The narrator, Steve West
- The twists and turns of the murder investigation

Things I didn't like:
- Aspects of Richard Jury's character really seem 'out of character'.
- some baffling things
Paul Pessolano
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
“Vertigo 42” by Martha Grimes, published by Scribner.

Category – Mystery/Thriller Publication Date – June 03, 2014

This is Martha Grimes’s twenty-third book featuring English detective Richard Jury. The book is a typical English mystery, more on grey matter and less on blood and guts. It is also typical English in that there is an incessant drinking of tea and a more than necessary description of one’s surroundings. As in all her books there are numerous references to Hollywood movies that pertain
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the most recent Richard Jury mystery, and as always it is enjoyable- a good mystery, interesting minor characters, and tragic deaths.

Minor quibbles (which for some readers are alternatively points of enjoyment): none of the characters seem to care about or regularly have sex, which seems strange in this day and age; Grimes manages to bring into almost every book her (and readers') favorite recurring characters- his buddy Melrose Plants' fellow village residents (rich eccentrics, shop own
Jim Graham
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Silly plot.
Many people really like the characters circulating around Superintendent Jury; I think they are too twee.
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
If I didn't love the characters so much, I'd probably have given this one 3 stars, but I do love these characters and am delighted to have had another opportunity to enjoy them.

Vertigo 42

I don't know how many of you have followed Martha Grimes' Richard Jury novels. They are a weird combination of crime, mystery, quirky friendships, witty repartee, familiar places, and plenty of recurring characters.

The titles in the series are for various pubs: The Man with a Load of Mischief, The Old Silent, T
Mary Ellen
May 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: only the most die-hard Richard Jury fans
Shelves: mysteries
Of all the just-calling-it-in books in the latter half of Grimes's Richard Jury mysteries, none can have been more just-called-in than this one. What follows is a rant; my first sentence sums the review up nicely!

I loved the early books in the series, and the early Jury: slightly melancholy, with a devastating smile, the man smarting from the tragic turn of his boyhood. At some point, alas, Grimes gave us a more lighthearted Jury, trading in his melancholy (maybe because melancholy had become su
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
VERTIGO 42. (2014). Martha Grimes. ****.
This is the latest mystery from Ms. Grimes featuring Inspector Richard Jury from Scotland Yard. Jury gets involved in a case where a woman takes a fall (or jumps, or is pushed) down a steep set of stairs down to a rocky bottom below. The investigation leaves an open verdict, but what makes it lean towards an accidental death is the fact that the victim suffered from vertigo. It is strange, though, that a similar death occurred seventeen years earlier when
Debbie Maskus
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this Richard Jury novel. The allusions to Thomas Hardy's novels and to the film Vertigo presented a delight. The various characters illustrated many different personalities, and the extra benefit of Stanley iced the cake. I listened to the book on audio book and the last disc was damaged, so I missed the details of the conclusion, such as the motive for Tess's death and Tess's secret. The setting and characters provide a wonderful glimpse of English life with the ritual of a ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Usual humor and thoughtfulness. There were a few errors, not sure if intentional or editorial. One of the characters in the story has an alibi based on a mistaken memory of the day of the week, well each chapter of this book has the day of the week, time and location listed at the start of the chapter. One chapter claims to start a few hours after the previous one, but is dated a day later. Intentional, to see if I'd notice??? Then late in the book within three paragraphs, Jury's friend Phyllis ...more
For all the brand names dropped, this book is distractingly dissociated from real time. One line lets you place the setting as mid-00's. One more line says Jury lost his parents during "the war" - so he must be pushing 60 & yet there is never any sense that he is anything other than a man somewhere between growing up and growing old. If I hadn't read all the previous books, I don't know that I would have any sense of who Jury is. The other recurring characters are equally vague. Perhaps this ...more
Patricia Houston
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. And it was truly promising at the beginning. I had high hopes that that all the eccentrics would be back. And there was plenty of Sergeant Wiggins and almost enough Melrose. But no Fiona, no Racer, no Cyril, no Mrs. Wasserman. I've always enjoyed the Jury series for the characters more than the plots. The last one I fully enjoyed was Rainbow's End. The books after that were downright depressing. Vertigo 42 is not depressing. It does have some funny moments and ...more
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was my first exposure to Martha Grimes, and I thoroughly enjoyed this well-written British mystery. Richard Jury is not a Lone Ranger, he gains knowledge and ideas from friends and suspects alike, gradually piecing everything together as we follow his trail learning about Tess, Hilda and the others involved as he investigates the murder/suicide/accident.
The books in Martha Grimes' Richard Jury series often are rich in literary and film references and this one is no exception. The homage to Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo is perhaps obvious from the title, but there are also overt references to Thomas Hardy and William Butler Yeats, as well as more subtle nods to Oscar Wilde and even the Bard himself, Shakespeare. It all makes for a fun game for the reader, a kind of hide-and-go-seek, which is an actual game that plays a part in one of the myste ...more
Superintendent Richard Jury meets Tom Williamson, a friend of a friend, at the Vertigo 42--a swanky bar on the 42nd floor of a building in London's business district. Williamson has never accepted the general belief that his wife's death seventeen years ago was an accident resulting from her vertigo. He firmly believes she was murdered and wants Jury to take a look at the case, which was brought in as an open verdict. Jury's colleague Brian Macalvie was the officer in charge of the case and he n ...more
Sherry Torgent
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
A Fantastic Whodunit with a Literary Twist…

Imagine a mystery, a whodunit, which weaves in details found in classics like Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and literature greats like Thomas Hardy's “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”, E.M. Forster’s “A Passage to India”, and poetry of T.S. Eliot. Now, add a Scotland Yard Superintendent, distinctively British settings that often involve a "cuppa", and you get nothing short of what I can only describe as charmingly clever.

Superintendent Richard Jury finds himself
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Twenty-two years ago - at a children's party at the home of Tess Williamson - young Hilda Palmer was found dead at the bottom of an empty swimming pool. No charges were filed but HIlda's mother held Tess responsible. Five years later Tess was found dead at the the bottom of a steep staircase. The general consensus was that her vertigo resulted in a fatal fall.

In the present day, Tess's husband Tom - thinking his wife's death was no accident - asks Detective Superintendent Richard Jury to look i
Richard Stueber
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A terrific book. Richard Jury of Scotland Yard is back for his 23rd adventure. Richard encounters most of the old familiar quirky characters. A lot of them are still gathering at the good old Jack and Hammer in Long Piddleton, Dick Scroggs proprietor.
Vertigo 42 is the name of a pub as are all the names of the books in this series. There's a lot of drinking and eating along the way, which may be Martha Grimes's way of enjoying vicariously what she can't in reality, being an alcoholic herself.
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
How well do you know Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo? You might want to refresh your memory before starting Martha Grimes' clever Vertigo 42 (Scribner, digital galley), in which Scotland Yard's Richard Jury makes some dizzying connections between murders old and new. After meeting widower Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a London bar atop a financial-district high-rise, Jury takes off for Devon to look into the death of Williamson's wife Tess 17 years ago. Did she fall -- as the police think -- or was s ...more
Jill Hutchinson
I am usually going into raptures about Grimes' Inspector Richard Jury books but this one didn't seem to measure up as well as those preceding. The story is unusual as Jury is involved in a 17 year old murder and a recent one that seem to have very tenuous ties to each other. Of course his pal, Melrose Plant (Lord Ardry) is involved but is pretty much on the sidelines where before he was almost an equal partner with Jury. That is a little different approach by the author as many of her stories fe ...more
Charles Mcdonald
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Perhaps I was the last person to know that Martha Grimes is wring an excellent series of detective novel books under her main character Richard Jury. Audible lists some 23 in her series. This is #23.

To be honest, some of what I listened to for the first few chapters seemed unrelated to the books title and had me thinking that I had made a mistake. However the interest picked-up and when into the last 1/4 of the book the mystery was made clear after several leads led Richard Jury to nothing but a
Katherine Clark
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is part of the Richard Jury series, and I love the series and loved this book. I put off reading this latest addition because of reading for the monograph--I am so glad I am taking the little break. During the novel, I told myself that Melrose Plant (Lord Ardry, sort of) was my favorite character in pop lit. This isn't true, mind you, but I love him and Jury so much.

This book plays on Hitchcock's Vertigo, which makes me want to run out and see it again (one of my 3 favorite Hitchcock m
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Around the Year i...: Vertigo 42, by Martha Grimes 1 8 Feb 26, 2017 08:50PM  
  • To Dwell in Darkness (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #16)
  • Harbour Street (Vera Stanhope, #6)
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  • Slay Bells (Pennyfoot Hotel #14)
  • No Man's Nightingale (Inspector Wexford  #24)
  • A Nice Class of Corpse (Mrs. Pargeter, #1)
  • The Reckoning (John Madden, #4)
  • Hunting Shadows (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #16)
  • All Shots (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #18)
  • Inspector Imanishi Investigates
  • By Its Cover (Commissario Brunetti, #23)
  • An Old Betrayal (Charles Lenox Mysteries, #7)
  • The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway, #7)
  • Just One Evil Act (Inspector Lynley, #18)
  • Death on Blackheath (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #29)
  • Appleby's End  (Sir John Appleby, #10)
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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“Melrose was so concerned that the [book]shop might close for lack of business, that he had suggested he would like to invest in it or even become a silent partner. "You see, books have always been a hobby of mine." Books had never been a hobby; they were a necessity.” 5 likes
“any particular idiot in mind?” “I do, indeed. If Tom was actually here on Monday, and he needed an alibi, well, man, he didn’t have one!” 0 likes
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