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The Black Cat

(Richard Jury #22)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,108 ratings  ·  461 reviews
The inimitable Richard Jury returns in a thrilling tale of mystery, madness, and mistaken identity

Three months have passed since Richard Jury was left bereft and guilt- ridden after his lover's tragic auto accident, and he is now more wary than ever. He is deeply suspicious when requested on a case far out of his jurisdiction in an outlying village where a young woman has
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Viking Books (first published March 31st 2010)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,108 ratings  ·  461 reviews

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Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Well, I did it. I'm gonna admit, Ms. Grimes books - I don't know what there is about them. The characters and situation draw me in, the silly sub-plots and side dishes often frustrate me. This time I skipped most of them.

Richard Jury - one of my all-time fav. leads in a crime/mystery book - is investigating the death of a woman found slumped over an outside table at a local pub, the Black Cat. The people in this particular pub - either nonexistent or uninteresting. And that includes the usual sm
Apr 24, 2014 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
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Angie Boyter
May 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Richard Jury stories are always at least a little weird and this one has communicating dogs and cats - communicating with each other that is. There are three women shot to death in this story, one at the Black Cat Pub in Chesham, one in St. Paul's yard and one in a quiet London street.
All three work for escort agencies and all three are dressed in high end clothes, particularly designer shoes. It is quickly discovered that the first woman was actually the local librarian but living a different l
Candice Arnold
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Aug 21, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
😂 Reading the other reviews I'm quite amazed at the roller coaster of feeling about this book. From 'I loved this book' to 'I'll never read another Martha Grimes again'. 😐 Well although I felt this was quite a departure from many of her other books I thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps I was just in the mood for a more lighthearted view of a murder mystery. Yes it quite took me by surprise: movie themes, talking animals (think Beatrix Potter), good wine and absolutely haute couture shoes! I found mys ...more
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Meh. I couldn't get into this book and I've loved the earlier Richard Jury books. Where were all the great characters - not even Melrose Plant could save this one from its plodding dreariness. When you've got chapters that involve a dog as the narrator, you have come to the end of creativity me thinks. Time to retire Inspector Jury and move on to a new character.
Sep 17, 2011 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!!!
This is my second book in the series where Detective Superintendent Richard Jury has to solve a murder in the environs of London. This one revolves around high price shoes and escorts. Whilst there are literary references, there are not as many as in the prior installment, Dust. But there are film references however which would helped in figuring out the motive for the murders.

This is much better written than Dust and highlights that this series is better read in sequence. The intriguing aspect
Sheila Myers
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Another great novel in the Richard Jury series.
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
May 15, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Nick Duretta
Sep 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Pretty standard Grimes, which is to say it includes a decent mystery embellished with precocious children, animals and offbeat Melrose Plant (whose Aunt Agatha is strangely missing this time). Grimes harkens back to previous mysteries (and pubs), but crosses the line this time by introducing a dog and cat conversing with one another. It smacks of gimmickry and detracts from the story.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
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 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Great dialogue. Descriptions of animals, clothing & shoes are both fun & engaging. Narrator John Lee does a great job with the regional dialects of England. Very enjoyable read. ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
For a few years I read everything I could by Martha Grimes and I still have a soft spot for the oddball team of Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. But not for this book.
It's verging on a soap opera with a half-hearted murder mystery bumbling along in the background. Who's Jury shagging now? The voluptuous neighbor? The hot coroner? What about the smarmy back-and-forth in the wine bar with his nemesis ... there's some closeted tension there, no? And how guilty should he feel about not remaining fait
Miss Lemon
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jury is an old friend. We don't see each other for a year or so then he'll pop up on a shelf and we're back together again. The Black Cat was another comfortable read; though I'm still not sure I felt the dog-cat discussions fit in Jury World. Don't get me wrong, I am a great fan of The Cat Who series by L.J. Braun but Jury is in this reality and I found it sort of jarring to plug in conversations by felines/canines at this late date. Not that the conversations between Mungo and his black cat bu ...more
Jean Cole
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
When you begin a detective series with book #22, you should know what you're getting into. So I wasn't surprised that there are recurring characters (at least one of them four-footed) and relationships. Grimes handles this very well and I didn't feel either that I was missing something or that time and space was wasted catching me up.
What I did not expect, and really enjoyed, was the roles our four-footed friends play in the story as well as the humorous aspects provided by the lead detective Ri
Helga Cohen
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Martha Grimes mystery featuring CID, Scotland Yard detective Richard Jury is cat centric. It is dedicated to her black cat and with her portrayal of the black cats in this mystery shows her affection and admiration and irritation of them and cat lovers have for them. It also features a very smart dog, Mungo who actually likes Morris the black cat that was kidnapped from the Black Cat bar. It takes place in England.
The Black Cat is a good Richard Jury mystery though not her best but it is st
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wasn't aware that this was a series when I picked it up, and that ended up being a problem. I had very little idea of what was going on, and there were endless side characters who weren't developed and seemed to me to serve no purpose. Usually this sort of series mystery reminds the reader what is going on, and that would have been useful here.

Other problems: I barely remember who got murdered and the solution was clichéd. I was also really confused by the talking animals. One minute I was in
Jun 19, 2020 added it
Shelves: sfpl, 2020, borrowed, audio, series
Jury is called in to assist Thames Valley CID in the murder of a local librarian. Newspapers quickly start calling the murderer a serial killer when two more bodies with similar characteristics show up. Harry Johnson is still in play and a few chapters feature Mungo's voice and point of view.

Martha Grimes is pulling back from the craziness of a few of her recent installments in this series. The crime is wrapped up, but it is an interesting and creative resolution, if somewhat derivative. Jury us
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was so good to get back to this series. I'd forgotten how much I like the characters, the settings, and the writing. Grimes has a sly sense of humor and really a fine way of writing kids and animals as well. Her plots are well done, too.

My only complaint is that she sometimes drags plot-lines on from one book to the next. I wonder if Harry Johnson is only hanging around because of his excellent dog Mungo, who is more clearly drawn than his "owner." By the time Richard Jury nails him, I'll ha
Rita	 Marie
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The best part of this delightful mystery is when we see the action from Mungo's point of view. Mungo is a highly intelligent dog who often gets inpatient with the limitations of humans. He also finds cats to be a bit too leisurely, especially Morris, the black cat he is trying to help.

The rest of the book is excellent too, with a series of murders centering around women's fashion shoes and perhaps relating to escort services. Or perhaps not. Richard Jury and his usual helpers undertake a challe
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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

Other books in the series

Richard Jury (1 - 10 of 25 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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