The Five Bells and Bladebone by Martha Grimes

 

Mystery

The Five Bells and Bladebone The Five Bells and BladeboneMartha Grimes; Onyx 2002WorldCat

Richard Jury is going on vacation. He is spending time in the country with his friend, Melrose Plant. He is not there 24 hours before a body falls out of an antique secretaire in a specialty shop. Since he is there anyway, Scotland Yard assigns him to the case.

Simon Lean, the dead man, was married to the granddaughter of the local gentry, Lady Summerston. Hannah Lean, the widow, is not grieving. She knows the man married her for her inheritance. She knows he had several mistresses, both locally in Sidbury and in London currently. She doesn’t know how many more there were in the past. Lady Summerston doesn’t mourn him, either. She knows he married her granddaughter for the money.

Jury investigates both the people in Sidbury, the most likely suspects, and Lean’s connections in London as well. A woman was murdered in London the same night Lean was killed in Sidbury. Jury begins to suspect there is a connection between the two deaths. Can he find the key that brings the two together? Or are they separate?

The mystery in this novel is intriguing. Each layer peels off to reveal more secrets within more mystery. Even after Jury figures out what he believes has happened, the reader is left with the possibility of an alternate solution.

Unfortunately, the story around the mystery is weak. This is the first Richard Jury/Melrose Plant novel I have read. Since it is the ninth in the series, these two characters may be more fleshed out in earlier novels. The characters are flat. The story is lifeless around the mystery, despite Plant’s eccentric aunt suing the butcher when her car runs into his plaster pig on the sidewalk (that story line adds some cute humor).

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