W.C. Fields once said “Anyone who hates children and dogs can’t be all bad…” However, Detective Superintendent Richard Jury doesn’t subscribe to that philosophy. In every one of Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury mysteries, there are children and animals and The Black Cat is no exception.
Also, as in all her Jury novels, the title is taken from the name of an English pub. In this book, a beautiful woman, dressed to the nines, wearing Jimmy Choo shoes, is found dead on the patio outside the Black Cat. Spt. Jury is called in to assist the local police, Detective Cummins, in the investigation. He soon learns from Dora, the eight year old ward of the bartendress at the Black Cat, that Morris, the pub’s black cat mascot, has been ‘murdered or kidnapped’. Now Jury must investigate two mysteries.
As you read, two more fashionably dressed dead bodies appear and Jury and his Sargent Wiggins get a lesson in designer clothes. Martha Grimes is a stalwart of the ‘cozy’ mystery. Her books are peopled with interesting characters. The plot takes various turns, arriving at a satisfying, albeit unforeseen, conclusion.
While most of her books can be read independently, I heartily suggest that you read the two previous books, The Old Wine Shades and Dust before reading The Black Cat. A main character of the current book is introduced in The Old Wine Shades and the evolution of that character will help in the understanding of the subsequent books.
– posted by Ed G., Reference Services