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Paperback The Man With a Load of Mischief (Wal-Mart Edition) Book

ISBN: 0451412540

ISBN13: 9780451412546

The Man With a Load of Mischief (Wal-Mart Edition)

(Book #1 in the Richard Jury Series)

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. At the Man with a Load of Mischief, they found the dead body stuck in a keg of beer. At the Jack and Hammer, another body was stuck out on the beam of the pub's sign, replacing the mechanical man who...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

the very first Melrose and Plant mystery

The first Inspector Richard Jury and Melrose Plant mystery deals with dark secrets that haunt the village of Long Piddleton, where a series of murders have takenplace. More over, this is where you get to meet all the lovable characters of Grimesdelightful British Mystery series, all named after Brit pubs. Jury is super investigator, but he must deal with the political side of his job, which he doesn't handle in the same deft fashion as he does solving cases. You also meet Melrose Plant, a mutli-titled Peer of the Realm, who has recently given up his titles, a spot on detective himself, though amateur. His dotty, social-climbing American Aunt Agatha Ardry, determined to be British by osmosis - leaching off her dear, long suffering nephew while eating all the faerycakes. Ruthven, the ever-efficient butler (who never did it!). Grimes loads the tale with a stable of supporting characters, and enough red herrings to make a lunch! Curry is the perfect narrator to bring Grimes prose alive. All her books can be stand alone, but you enjoy them so much more if you start with this one and work your way through.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Thing...

I have read maybe 10 or 12 of Grime's Jury/Plant mysteries in no particular order, and I loved every single one of them. However, I was quite surprised this year that I have been able to reread 2 of them so far ("The Old Silent" and "Man With a Load of Mischief") and enjoy them as much as the first time! The humor and her perfect timing are as fresh the 2nd time around, and I had honestly forgotten many of her subtle clues.For anyone new to Grimes, she is an absolutely masterful mystery writer. What sets her apart is her focus on a pair of sharp, witty, handsome and ultimately vulnerable 40 year old bachelors, Jury and Plant. Jury and Plant are so endearing in their development - as opposed to a Poroit or Holmes - that you wish you actually knew them or people like them. In fact, you feel like you do know them. Their surrounding cast of characters - Lady Ardry, Vivian, Trueblood, Scroggs, Withersby, Wiggins, Fiona, Mrs. Wasserman, Racer - all heighten your appreciation of the main characters.In this particular book, the first in the series, you get to see Grimes set the stage with all these characters. How does Jury (an inspector with the New Scotland Yard) ever hook up with Plant (a part-time professor who gave up his titles years ago)? Why is Trueblood in Long Pidd? What is Plant and Vivian's history? How do you pronounce Ruthven? What is the deal with the names of pubs in England (a central theme for Grimes)?The basic plotline in this book is that 2 men - strangers to the small village of Long Pidd - have been strangled and left to be discovered in very odd ways. The reason for their murders is so obscure that Scotland Yard gets brought in to help out. After Jury arrives on the scene, however, the murders don't stop. What is the connection between these random people? Will the entire population of the small town be killed off before the murderer is found? Will Jury and Plant become good friends? All these questions are answered as Grimes also masterfully laces her humorous storyline with clues and names that point to solution of these mysterious murders.


In her Richard Jury/Melrose Plant series of mysteries, Martha Grimes has developed an ensemble cast who play the same role, but with different levels of involvement from book to book. As one works his way through these mystery novels, all the members of the ensemble take on lives of their own. Another reviewer has stated that, in later novels, this being the first in the series, they become stereotypes. It is my opinion that they merely stay in character. This is not to say however that they don't show growth and appropriate change with time and circumstance. They do.One should know that the name of this book, THE MAN WITH A LOAD OF MISCHIEF, is the name of an English pub where part of the action takes place. This approach is taken in all of the novels in this series. (18 to date covering over 20 years of writing)Although any one of these novels can be read in any order, this one gives more character background than any of the others. (I read it after having already read 16 others and it didn't hurt my comprehension of the others a bit.) Each novel has an interesting and entertaining plot. That said, what really distinguishes Ms Grimes' writing is the humor and local color she evokes through the antics, interrelationships, and subplots involving the various members of her cast of characters. There are over a dozen of them and each is fully realized with personalities, weaknesses and strengths, likes and dislikes, and friends and enemies. The plot here involves the murder of strangers visiting the English town of Long Piddleton. In order to solve the mystery of the murders, it is first necessary to determine whether the murders were the random work of some madman, or if they were somehow related in a way that is not apparent. That is the gist of the plot.The ensemble consists of 12 to 18 characters whose importance tends to vary from novel to novel. In this, and most of the others, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury of New Scotland Yard, his assistant, the hypochondriacal Sergeant Wiggins, and his newfound friend in Long Piddleton, Melrose Plant, the former Lord Ardry are the key participants (Melrose is the former Lord Ardry because he didn't want the title of Earl and so renounced it.)There are a great number of players at the next tier and each is important in his own right. Some provide a real touch of humor, and others contribute to the main plot, but all combine to make this book what it is.I must digress here and give a short description of Melrose Plant's Aunt Agatha - Lady Ardry - Lady because she happened to marry Melrose's titled uncle. She is an American and is enamored of the concept of being titled. Picture, if you will, a rather rotund late middle-aged woman who wears a cape, pushing open a door with no regard as to who or what might be on the other side, wielding a silver cane, like a sword, shoving aside anyone who happens to be between her and her destination. As often as not, her destination is a tray of

Unusually Captivating

I am a Richard Jury fan to the core. I normally like to begin a series by reading the first book written. However, Man with a Load of Mischief was the second book I read by Martha Grimes. Here we are introduced to the main characters that appear throughout the Richard Jury series. Ms. Grimes does a wonderful job of giving her characters life and color. They seem almost real from the wealthy and charming former earl, Melrose Plant to his irritating aunt-by-marriage Agatha. Here we get a glimpse of Marshall Trueblood who owns the antique store and revals in dressing loudly, smoking colored cigarettes and teasing Agatha. Here Jury meets these characters and more for the first time and forms a lasting friendship with Melrose. Here we get the first glimpse into Jury's life where relationships with women are rarely successful for long periods of time. Martha Grimes cleverly mixes murder with humor to produce a very entertaining novel. A true literary success.

Great way to meet the characters in the Richard Jury series

For those of you who, like me, discovered Martha Grimes when she was well into her series of books featuring Richard Jury, I highly recommend this first in the series. The well plotted, if somewhat overly complex story is a good read, but the real fun is in meeting Melrose Plant, Superintendent Racer (sans cat), Marshall Trueblood, Vivian and Little Pid for the first time. There is an added bonus in that one of the characters is an expert on the history of the strange and exotic names of English country inns. As the afficianado knows, Ms. Grimes has used these names to good effect as titles for the books in her Jury series
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