Narrator: Steve West
Series: Richard Jury #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on March 26, 2013
Length: 9 hrs 32 mins
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At the Man with a Load of Mischief, they found the dead body stuck in a keg of beer. At the Jack and Hammer, another body was stuck out on the beam of the pub’s sign, replacing the mechanical man who kept the time. Two pubs. Two murders. One Scotland Yard inspector called in to help. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury arrives in Long Piddleton and finds everyone in the postcard village looking outside of town for the killer. Except for one Melrose Plant. A keen observer of human nature, he points Jury in the right direction: into the darkest parts of his neighbors’ hearts…
The Man with a Load of Mischief is the first in the Richard Jury series. The only reason I picked it up was that it takes place at Christmas, but I’m glad I did. I’m not sure how I missed this series before. I will definitely read more – I might actually be listening to the 2nd as I’m typing this.
The book takes place around 1981 – no cell phones, no internet, no tiny cameras. This is the type of mystery where our detective has to watch for clues, talk to people, not rely on technology.
Our detective from Scotland Yard is Richard Jury, intelligent, patient, kind. Our sidekick is Melrose Plant, rich, clever, sparkling green eyes. We see the story from their alternating points of view. We only know what they know, we only hear what they hear. The writing style is descriptive and full, without being overly detailed. The book certainly has serious moments, but Plant especially can be funny and sarcastic. The other characters are an appropriately odd lot.
The mystery was well done. The deaths seem so unrelated at first but all the clues, threads, and relationships pull together well.