A New Look at an Old Friend

Sometimes it’s good to go back and revisit a book series you haven’t picked up in a while. Maybe you got tired of the series, or maybe you simply forgot to pay attention as you caught up with everything the author had written and then just never got back to it. In any event, there are times when even a reader who enjoys series loses track and gets pulled away into reading other things.

Courtesy Grove Atlantic

That happened to me with Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury series. I read many of her earlier novels in the book, and honestly don’t know why I hadn’t read anything in the series lately. Somehow, I just always seemed to have something else to do or someone else’s book to read. Still, I recently had the opportunity to read a new novel in the series and now I’m wondering why I haven’t read all twenty-four of the previous novels in the series.

No matter. I don’t need to solve the question in order to rectify the situation. Martha Grimes is a prolific author, well-known as a master of detective fiction, so I’m expecting it will be relatively easy to locate the books. Now, I just need to find the time to read them all. Since this latest book is her twenty-fifth in the series, I expect I’ve got some catching up to do. Even if I’ve read half of the earlier ones, which is perhaps a reasonable estimate, that still leaves at least a dozen to catch up.

Anyway, here’s the review I wrote for her most recent one. Read it, then head on over to your local library or independent book seller and get started. If you’re like me, you have a lot of catch-up reading to do.


The Old Success by Martha Grimes is one of those novels I think best read when you have time to sit and read for a while before putting it down. The story is a complex one and the characters are many, so trying to read it in spurts might be hard if the reader is trying to keep track of all the moving parts. Also, it is the twenty-fifth in this well developed series, with many of the same characters who have appeared regularly in earlier books within the series. These characters are like old friends to people who have read at least some of the earlier novels, but someone beginning the series might become a little confused as to who they all are and what their relationships are to each other and Jury if they try and begin with this novel.

The plotting is well done, with the case unfolding much as I imagine might be the process in an actual police investigation. There are many seemingly disparate facts that Jury accumulates along the way which slowly begin to swirl around each other to form a cohesive connection that leads to the solution. Because there are multiple deaths and numerous people involved with the various victims as well as Jury and his complement of friends and fellow investigators, it can get confusing if the reader tries to pick the book up and read for fifteen minutes here and there. Rather, save this one for when you have an hour or so, get comfortable, and immerse yourself in the novel.

The book begins with the discovery of a young woman found dead, floating in the bay. Things rapidly progress from there with help from New Scotland Yard being requested and Jury being drawn into the case. As in previous books, Jury’s friends spend much of their time in the local pub, where he gets a combination of information that may or may not be pertinent to the solving of the case as well as pulling in his friends to give him the occasional assist.

The plot is far too complex to try and summarize other than to say there are several young women who initially seem unconnected who are murdered. The side stories and numerous and varied, from a woman whose death has been ruled a suicide but no one believes that to be the case to a new business venture involving the opportunity to rent “family members” for various and sundry reasons. They all play a part in the ultimate solution of the murder, as well as offering some light hearted moments that allow the reader to enjoy the various personalities that Grimes has created.

I have read some of the earlier books in the series, but not all. This one makes me want to go back and read the rest, preferably in order, so that I can enjoy getting to know Jury’s friends on a more in-depth level. My thanks to Grove Atlantic Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader digital copy in exchange for an unbiased review.


That’s it for now. I’m headed out to get another book, or two. Happy Reading.