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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Blue Last

Grimes, Martha.  The Blue Last.

I picked this one up at the library because I felt like a reunion with Richard Jury, Melrose Plant, and the other eccentric characters that Grimes has created.

Inspector Jury is approached by an old friend and colleague, Micky Haggerty, who is dying of cancer.  Haggerty wants Jury to prove that during the WWII bombing of London, a baby was switched.  Two young mothers, two babies of the same age.  One mother and child killed by a bomb, one young mother and child survive.  The surviving mother was the Nanny, the surviving baby is supposed to be the child of a wealthy family. 

Despite the difficulties of a case this old, Jury wants desperately to help his old friend.  With the help of his friend Melrose Plant, Jury begins the investigation, which involves two charming children and a dog.  Children and dogs always play a part in Grimes' mysteries, and while they may not be absolutely believable,  the children (and dogs) are filled with personality.

Unfortunately, the mystery itself has a number of flaws, not least of which is Jury's age and preoccupation with his past.  By no means is The Blue Last one of Grimes' better novels.

Fiction.  Mystery/Police Procedural.  2001.  415 pages.


  1. I've read a very few in this series, and recently bought the first one, thinking I'd like to go through them all. I've read criticism over the years, and I wonder if your thoughts mirror it. How is Jury's age a flaw? Your way of choosing this is just how I am. I 'feel' like I want to be in England at Christmas, or in Provence with Peter Mayle, or in the Scottish countryside. Today I've been thinking about Fannie Flagg's Redbird Christmas. Isn't it funny how our books become like friends or places to visit.

  2. I had forgotten about Martha Grimes' books. Love Jury, Plant, and all the local villagers.

    Haven't read The Blue Last but I remember enjoying The Stargazey.

    Enjoy the cozy reading season!

  3. Why is Jury's age a flaw? 'The Blue Last' is taking place during Christmas 1995. At that time Jury is ca. 55 years old. Where's the problem?
    I have read all the Jury mysteries at least 2-3 times (in chronological order), The Blue Last in my eyes is one of the very best, if not THE best. Your review doesn't do the book justice at all. Not in the slightest!

  4. I have forgetten about Martha Grimes. I haven't read one of her mysteries in years. I will go back and read one again. Books are such a wonderful way to keep friends close at hand.

    Hubby, Jim is reading A Redbird Christmas now and snorting at Jack.

  5. Nan - I usually love anything concerning Inspector Jury, Melrose Plant, Sergeant Wiggins, the Long Piddleton crew. The quirky characters and witty repartee have always been my main attraction to the novels.

    Jury's age - he never seems to age even though the times change. The Millennium Bridge (which was mentioned in the novel) was begun in 1998 and completed in 2000. That would make Jury in his early 60's if he was a small child during the war. The bombing of The Blue Last was in 1940. Even in the later books, his age seems the same. It doesn't usually bother me unless there are a lot of dates given that lead to wondering about it.

    I really should read through them all again, beginning with The Man with a Load of Mischief. They really have been great companions over the years; this one was an exception.

    Kim - I've always found the relationships of Jury's friends to be the most charming aspect of the books. Kind of Noel Coward.

    irishrain - I'm sorry to have upset you with my review. The book bothered me for several reasons, but it is just a personal opinion. I mentioned the problems with Jury's age in the comment to Nan, but again it is a personal evaluation.

    Janet - Books ARE a "wonderful way to keep friends close at hand"! Two mentions of A Redbird Christmas in this post! I've always enjoyed Fannie Flagg and must look for this one.

  6. I've yet to read any of her Richard Jury books, but I loved the three books set in the small US town that started with Hotel Paradise--loved them and would like to reread them.