Vertigo 42 Book Review

Vertigo 42 by Martha Grimes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Fantastic Whodunit with a Literary Twist…

Imagine a mystery, a whodunit, which weaves in details found in classics like Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and literature greats like Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles”, E.M. Forster’s “A Passage to India”, and poetry of T.S. Eliot. Now, add a Scotland Yard Superintendent, distinctively British settings that often involve a “cuppa”, and you get nothing short of what I can only describe as charmingly clever.

Superintendent Richard Jury finds himself doing a favor for a friend by meeting with Tom Williamson. Tom’s wife, Tess died in what was ruled an accident 17 years ago. The investigation at the time found her fall on their estate was due to her bouts of Vertigo. Her husband believes she was murdered. Muddying the waters, is the death of a nine-year-old girl on the couple’s estate five years before Tess died. In order to determine if there’s any connection between the two, Jury must investigate both deaths. If that isn’t enough, Jury is temporarily distracted by another mysterious death near Long Piddleton, where he has stopped to visit his precocious friend, Melrose Plant (love this guy). A woman in a red dress and heels is found dead at the bottom of a tower. Accident or murder? How all this is woven together and tidied up is the tour de force of Grime’s writing.

Be warned – Grimes is not for the casual reader. You will have to engage all your powers of reasoning in order to keep up with Richard Jury and his sidekick, Sergeant Wiggins. Grimes doesn’t waste one ounce of time on anything other than moving the plot along. Yet, the reader is never bored or bogged down in the never-ending search for answers. On the contrary, Grime’s characters are delightful, witty, sometimes quirky, flawed human beings. In other words, quite fascinating.

Being new to Martha Grimes (Yes, I know. How is that possible?), I knew I would need to read some back story on Vertigo 42’s main character, Superintendent Richard Jury. I immediately purchased and read, “The Man with a Load of Mischief”. I highly recommend “new to Grimes” readers to do the same before reading Vertigo 42.

I am officially a new fan of Martha Grimes. I enjoy being able to read a book that is intelligent and not laced with foul language that so many authors seem to employ these days. Grimes just gives you straight up good writing.

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