Richard's Reviews > Belle Ruin

Belle Ruin by Martha Grimes
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's review
Mar 19, 2011

really liked it
Recommended to Richard by: I thought I read all Ms. Grimes' work but missed this series
Recommended for: Anyone who wants a good laugh with their mystery, or a charming story about a charming girl.

Our narrator is Emma Graham, almost 13 years old as she fulfills her various roles as waitress at the Hotel Paradise, co-owned and operated by her mother who is also the chef; bartender for her Great Aunt, 91 year old Aurora Paradise who inhabits the whole fourth floor as her personal suite; star in her brothers original treatment Medea, the Musical; and prime investigator in the disappearance 21 years before of a baby only a few months old.

As she goes between three small towns on the local train or Axel's Taxi, although never with the elusive Axel, she interrogates everyone in her other role as reporter for the weekly paper.

I had not seen any indication of time reference in this or a later sequel, until her mother was watching the Donna Reed Show on TV one evening. Since this ran from September 1958 into March 1966, you can sort of figure out where the time-line runs. This is a telling choice of TV programs since it had such an ideal family, which Emma did not, and the two kids on it are almost 12 and almost 15.

It is interesting to me that she is a friend to two potent father substitutes, the Sheriff and the Master Master Mechanic.

Emma is very smart, but ignorant of so much, which she admits.

I cannot wait to read the previous two books about these quirky small town folk.

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