You know you've found an author of extraordinary skill and talent when you still hear their characters’ voices in your head long after you've put one of their books down. Martha Grimes is one of those authors. Her characters don’t just come alive on the page, they stay with you, and you think of them as you might an old friend. Someone you miss and hope to hear from again soon.
Vertigo 42 is Grimes’s twenty-third Superintendent Richard Jury mystery, and the easy wit and confidence with which she writes his latest adventure is matched only by the wit and confidence of the man himself. But Grimes doesn’t just write characters well, she crafts an intriguing mystery that kept me guessing and intrigued. Yet, admittedly, the best part of unraveling the mystery was meeting all the characters that popped up in the investigation, and seeing Jury’s reaction to them along the way.
To say Grimes is an adept mystery writer is an understatement. After 23 books in the Jury series and others in additional series, she knows how to draw you into Jury’s world, enjoy every moment you spend peeking over his shoulder and trying to solve the mystery for yourself, and miss his company when you come to the final page. I enjoyed Vertigo 42 so much that I will go back and read any of the Jury novels I’ve missed over the years.
Tom Williamson has asked Superintendent Richard Jury to look into the death of his wife, a death ruled as accidental many years before. Williamson doesn’t believe his wife’s death was an accident, and Jury has his own doubts as he begins to delve into the case. Yet just as he sets out to begin his inquiries, a body is found nearby and Jury finds himself involved in another mystery. Are the deaths connected?
In her latest Richard Jury mystery, Martha Grimes delivers the newest addition to the bestselling series The Washington Post calls “literate, lyrical, funny, funky, discursive, bizarre.” The inimitable Scotland Yard Superintendent returns, now with a tip of the derby to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
Richard Jury is meeting Tom Williamson at Vertigo 42, a bar on the forty-second floor of an office building in London’s financial district. Despite inconclusive evidence, Tom is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered seventeen years ago. The inspector in charge of the case was sure Tess’s death was accidental—a direct result of vertigo—but the official police inquiry is still an open verdict and Jury agrees to re-examine the case.
Jury learns that a nine-year-old girl fell to her death five years before Tess at the same country house in Devon where Tess died. The girl had been a guest at a party Tess was giving for six children. Jury seeks out the five surviving party guests, who are now adults, hoping they can shed light on this bizarre coincidence.
Meanwhile, an elegantly dressed woman falls to her death from the tower of a cottage near the pub where Jury and his cronies are dining one night. Then the dead woman’s estranged husband is killed as well. Four deaths—two in the past, two that occur on the pages of this intricate, compelling novel—keep Richard Jury and his sidekick Sergeant Wiggins running from their homes in Islington to the countryside in Devon and to London as they try to figure out if the deaths were accidental or not. And, if they are connected.
Witty, well-written, with literary references from Thomas Hardy to Yeats, Vertigo 42 is a pitch perfect, page-turning novel from a mystery writer at the top of her game.