Wednesday, January 17

Dust by Martha Grimes

Review by Theodore Feit 
 

This is the story of two "L's:"  Lust and Literature.  It begins with Inspector Richard Jury in the throes of post-coital rapture.  His girlfriend, a Scotland Yard pathologist, is in the shower.   Then the telephone rings, ruining the mood.  A man has been murdered in a posh hotel and off-and-running the pair goes to the scene.  So much for libido, so far.

 

There, Jury meets Lu Aguilar, the lead detective.  When they leave, Jury and Lu fall into more than rigorous sex at his home.  Twice in a few hours.  What a man.

 

The second "L" is more literary.  The murder victim was in residence at The Lamb, home of Henry James--references to his work are sprinkled throughout as quasi-leads or clues (although Jury lacks clues almost until the end).

 

In sifting through the victim's past, there are numerous conflicting and false leads.  It takes all kinds of assistance and analysis for Jury to track the mystery of these "clues."   Enigmatic Harry Johnson reappears from the previous novel in the series to provide Jury with more doubts and thrown curves while they drink wine at Dust, a trendy bar at which the murder victim was last seen before going to the hotel.

 

As excellent as any in the series, the book draws the reader back and forth—just as Jury is—without a real clue to solving the case (or his love life).  It's no surprise that in the end, Jury and his off-beat assistants come to an unusual conclusion, but doubts remain on his romantic future.

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