My review of Martha Grimes The Old Contemptibles


Did Jane Galloway commit suicide or was she murdered? Melrose Plant attempts to determine the identity of Jane’s mysterious visitor on the night of her death. Was it Alex’s sultry grandmother, Genevieve? Jane’s sister, Madeline? Francis Fellows? Or the doctor, Maurice Kingsley?

4 Stars

I read this book before, twenty-some years ago when it first came out, but I didn’t remember any of the plot. In the end, I really liked this book. But at the start, I was a little put off by it. It seemed like a recycled storyline; Richard Jury meets a girl, develops an emotional attachment to her and shortly thereafter she ends up dead. The first third of the book I found wanting. The story seemed to develop a little slowly and the plot seemed to similar to Jerusalem Inn and while I liked the new characters of Alex and Adam, the development just seemed too slow.

The last two thirds I thought was much better paced. There was A LOT of Melrose, which I thoroughly enjoyed since he is my favorite character. The interaction between Adam and Lady Cray was wonderful as well. I really enjoyed those characters. Once again though, there are a couple of pages near the end told from the point of view of an animal. In this case Sorcerer the cat. Until near the end I was unsure of who the responsible party was, so the intrigue was nice.

The hardcover was formatted well with no obvious grammatical or spelling errors.