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Paperback The Old Wine Shades Book

ISBN: 0451220722

ISBN13: 9780451220721

The Old Wine Shades

(Book #20 in the Richard Jury Series)

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Condition: Like New

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

I loved this book.

I've read a number of Grimes' other books, but this was the first one I kept turning pages faster and faster because I couldn't figure anything out, and even at the enigmatic end still didn't know how Jury would resolve the trouble with Harry. I am now starting the next book in the series hoping there will be some reference to Harry's comeuppance. Loved the thinking dog and the far-outness just amused me. Sorry so many other people didn't like the whimsy, but I loved it.

Giving it five stars out of spite for the other reviews...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I've only read a couple of Richard Jury books, it's true, so maybe I'm missing out on the "great" ones, but pish, posh, let's not quibble. This was a blast - great premise, very clever idea, with a lot of information about physics, a subject I know almost nothing about and now am more enlightened thanks to Ms. Grimes. Richard Jury is a charming detective - rather dry, but obviously smart and attractive. loved the "what's-it- all-about?"-maze-like plot, the story-telling - and the "lies" - this was a fun book! Don't know what the other reviewers had on their little minds as they read...but obviously, they did read, or they wouldn't be weighing in...so they must have enjoyed it enough to get to the end, right? In any case, the only caveat I have about the book is that Brit contemporary writing can be so..."precious." I didn't care for the finally-sentimental view of the children, Tilda and Timmy. Tilda was terrific at the beginning, because she had a decidedly-dark side. Timmy was interestingly drawn and a silent but intelligent autistic boy. But in the end, Jury's affection for the kids felt contrived, and kind of of curdled...a "dry" character gone soggy. "Dry" is actually good when it comes to literature, grownups and kids, note: Mary Poppins. Otherwise, this was one of the more fun - and thought-provoking - detective novels I've read in ages.

An ingeniously-plotted and witty mystery

It's been two years since Martha Grimes has treated her readers to a Richard Jury mystery, but the wait is well worth it. Scotland Yard Superintendent Jury has been temporarily suspended from duty over his failure to secure a search warrant in his last case (in THE WINDS OF CHANGE), so he is cooling his heels and wetting his whistle at various London pubs while awaiting a decision on his future. He is sitting at the bar of an established wine connoisseur's pub when, in classic style, "This man walks into a bar with his dog..." The man, Harry Johnson, sits down next to Jury and starts spinning a tale of how the mutt, Mungo --- who was abducted along with his mistress and her autistic son nine months earlier while looking at houses in the English countryside --- suddenly came back. The dog's master, Hugh Gault, husband and father to the missing persons, has committed himself to a sanitarium over grief in the loss. Johnson and Gault, physicists and colleagues, are exploring quantum physics and superstring theory. There still is no sign of the woman or the boy, which leads Johnson to expound on theories of what happened to them, and why and how the dog come back. Are they lost in some space/time continuum? Are they alive or dead? As Johnson spins out his tale in Scheherazade fashion over several lunches and dinners, Jury is drawn in by the tale. Having nothing else to do, he begins to follow leads, fantastic and unlikely as they seem. All of our favorite Richard Jury characters are in place in their own milieu, from the Boring Men's club to the local pubs, and serve as sounding boards and prognosticators to the mystery. The irascible Lord Ardry travels to Florence, Italy, in pursuit of clues and the truth. Jury hunts down estate agents and schoolmasters, and quaffs many appealing wines and spirits in his search for a solution. Perhaps the most winning character in the story is Mungo the dog, Johnson's constant companion in each and every pub and restaurant. Mungo, who has witnessed the whole thing and knows who did what to whom, finds Jury decidedly obtuse in his inability to see through the tale and solve the mystery. Mungo's gamesmanship with Schrodinger the cat are some of the more amusing incidents in this highly imaginative tale. Of the twenty Richard Jury mysteries, this is perhaps one of the more ingeniously plotted and wittily told. Martha Grimes and Richard Jury aren't getting older --- they're just getting better. --- Reviewed by Roz Shea

Grimes provides some quantum relief!

In "The Old Wine Shades," Martha Grimes' latest--and 21st Richard Jury mystery--is an attention-grabber from the first sentence. Grimes, after seemingly going through a rough patch in the last number or so of Jury stories, is back on track with another fast-paced, mesmerizing cleverly-written (and perhaps more cerebral than her others) story, a labyrinthine reading adventure that's well worth the read. "A man walked into a pub," or so the joke goes. And Grimes grabs this narrative hook and off to the races she goes. Jury, on a semi-suspension pending the outcome of an inquiry over the illegal search of a crime scene in the previous book ("The Winds of Change"), seems to have time on his hands. Sitting in a favorite local pub (Grimes' Jury books are all names of actual pubs) called The Old Wine Shades, Jury is approached by a well-dressed, highly intelligent, and most personable gentleman, a physicist who's into more physics than the average reader is likely to know, who begins telling Jury the story of the disappearance of the wife of a fellow physicist, her autistic son, and their dog Mungo. Over three evenings (and lots of vintage wine), Harry Johnson tells this compelling--and mystifying tale. It's been nice months since the disappearance: no ransom demand, no post cards, no body. (No body? Asks Carole-anne, Jury's neighbor friend form previous Grimes stories. "A boy will turn up. A body always does," she says.) The story is so compelling that Jury can't keep it out of his mind. The story, as Jury says, is actually a frame story, or a story within a story within a story....Weaving the murder mystery intricately with lessons in quantum physics (the superstring theory, Schrodinger's cat, Einstein, Niels Bohr), Grimes doesn't get lost in pedantry, however. (Actually, she's quite clever as she deftly makes one quantum leap to another with this thread!) A key element, however, is the dog Mungo. "And the dog came back," we're told. After nine months, Johnson says that Mungo just appeared at his door. Mungo is more than just an incidental element in the story as Grimes particulates her characters at the speed of light, treading lightly on such theories of relativity--all to justify the ends in this riveting story. "The Old Wine Shades" is vintage Martha Grimes, as she continuously comes back to her literary lifelines: her established charcters from Long Pid (Melrose Plant, Aunt Agatha, and the gang at the Jack and Hammer), Jury's office mates, his neighbors and colleagues. A Jury story wouldn't be the same without them, of course. And Grimes' penchant for the literary has always been one of her strong points, with an allusion here and an allusion there, pleasantly interspersed which only adds to the interest. Her love for London (especially Foyles book store and Fortnam and Mason's department store) makes the reader feel her stories are somehow, well, "local color." Her eloquent narrative descriptions combined with subtle--and

The Shades of Truth

As a long time admirer of Martha Grimes' complex, articulate and mysterious Richard Jury, I was thrilled to curl up with a tome of his continued/latest adventure. However, I was not prepared for the wonder of this novel. Not only does it contain some of the wittiest, and most entertaining Melrose/Richard verbal duels ever, but also a delightful visit to Long Piddleton's storied pub, The Jack and Hammer, in the company of Diane, Trueblood, mysterious Vivien and the dreaded Theo. What fun! However, these humorous delights are only the backdrop to Grimes' fascinating and timely study of the nature of truth. Although at first I found it startlingly coincidental that this book was published so soon after the shocking exposure of James Frey's fabrication of his "memoir", the sad fact is truth is taking a beating today everywhere. Murderers get off, "Damage Control" is big buisness, media stars rush to the defense of pet liars (a la Oprah's impassioned defense of Frey's crime). Martha Grimes, like Tom Wolfe, is a master at truth telling. Read this compelling and perfectly paced tale - it is nothing short of masterful.
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