The Old Success

The Old Success

Book - 2019
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"When the body of a French woman washes up on a wild inlet off the Cornish coast, Brian Macalvie, divisional commander with the Devon-Cornwall police is called in. Who could have killed this beautiful tourist, the only visible footprints nearby belonging to the two little girls who found her? While Macalvie reexamines the scene in the Scilly Islands, inspector Richard Jury-twenty miles away on Land's End-is at The Old Success pub, sharing a drink with the legendary former CID detective Tom Brownell, a man renowned for solving every case he undertook. Except one. In the days following the mysterious slaying of the Parisian tourist, two other murders take place: first, a man is shot at a country estate, then a holy duster turns up murdered in Exeter Cathedral. Macalvie, Jury, and Brownell set out to discover whether these three killings, though very different in execution, are connected"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2019
Edition: First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition
ISBN: 9780802147400
Branch Call Number: MYS GRI
Characteristics: 243 pages ; 24 cm


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sapl3 Apr 08, 2020


Do writers have a “best before date”? I’m beginning to think so, especially since reading Peter Robinson’s Many Rivers to Cross, Ann Cleeves’ The Long Call and now Grimes’ The Old Success. For each of these stories is just not up to the caliber that one would expect of these authors.

The Old Success is the 25th in the Richard Jury series and I was looking forward to some insight into one of his old cases but this was not to be. Instead, Grimes has Jury collaborate with a DI with the Devon-Cornwall police and a former CID detective who has the reputation of solving every case he’s ever taken on, but one. The three are tasked with investigating a series of 3 murders over the course of a few weeks.

Missing is the wit that Grimes brings to our favorite characters. In fact, missing are our favorite characters! For they get barely a mention in this story. What we do get are some new characters who appear on the page without any introduction, causing me to ask: “who are you and what are you doing in this story?” As a result, rather than becoming a book that I couldn’t put down, this one was a book that I had to force myself to finish reading.

Maybe Grimes was counting on her previous reputation to carry this book – in other words, her “Old Success”. If so, it didn’t work for this reader.

Joanne gives The Old Success 2 daggers out of 5!

Jan 27, 2020

I am sorry those two do not like the last 2 Martha Grimes novels. They appear to have lost their Richard Jury and the Jack&Hammer crew "joy" and instead have turned shrewish. Too bad.

Jan 21, 2020

This is the first Richard Jury I have not loved - and I've read all of the Grimes books. There were just too many characters in too few pages. I kept getting all the middle aged male policemen mixed up and also the young women envolved in each of the three mysteries. It is not the kind of book you can put down and then pick up later. You must pay attention to the bar pals as they talk early in the book to know what is going on when a young boy appears at Melrose's mansion later. Still, I gave it 4 stars just for seeing my old friends in this series.

Nov 22, 2019

I had stopped reading Martha Grimes a few years ago and thought to check out the evolution of the pub mysteries. The Old Success served as a reminder of the conceit of a "new" pub-- although the Old Success is but a bit player -- in this thinly plotted "mystery." The focus is still on the indolent, self-referent group at the Jack and Hammer with contrived mini-plot situations as the story unfolds: Aggrieved is a frustrated racehorse! Development: a famous trainer conveniently connected to one of the group arrives to work with him. Spoiler alert: he wins his race! One must really suspend belief to continue with this series. It doesn't work as a mystery but may exude charm of character for faithful readers. Others may discover the principals' "witty" repartee too twee and not their cup of tea or pulled pint. Loyal readers may, however, enjoy a bit of "Schadenfreude" when Plant turns the tables on Aunt Agatha.

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