Cover image for The Old Contemptibles
The Old Contemptibles
Grimes, Martha.
Personal Author:
Large print edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [1991]

Physical Description:
398 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print
FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print

On Order


Author Notes

Martha Grimes was born on May 2, 1931 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Maryland.

The idea for Martha Grimes' first British detective novel, The Man with a Load of Mischief (1981), was inspired by the name of a British pub she noticed while leafing through a travel book. A longtime Anglophile, she has continued to use a British pub as both the title and part of the setting in each subsequent novel in the series which features Scotland Yard Detective Richard Jury, his assistant, Melrose Plant, and Plant's interfering Aunt Agatha. The Anodyne Necklace (1983) won her the Nero Wolfe Award. Her other works include The Stargazey, The Case Has Been Altered, The End of the Pier, Biting the Moon, and Dust. Her title, Vertigo 42, made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2014.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Richard Jury, London police superintendent, is a suspect himself in Grimes's 11th mystery named after English pubs--this one in the Lake District of poets Wordsworth and Coleridge. Jury is considering marriage to recently met widow Jane Holdsworth at the moment her teenaged son Alex finds her dead, apparently a suicide. Alex runs away, and Jury, required, as a suspect, to remain in London, sends old friend Melrose Plant up to the Lakes to learn what he can about the wealthy Holdsworth family, among whom Jane's death is the fourth suspicious one. Eccentric, appealing characters hold this scattershot plot together. Best are vulnerable, brave and preternaturally bright youngsters Alex, who cheats at poker and the horses brilliantly, and 11-year-old orphan Millie Thale, who cooks at Holdsworth manse and broods over her own mother's unexpected death five years before. Equally vivid are two residents at a nearby rest home for the wealthy elderly: sly Adam Holdsworth, who holds the pursestrings that tie the tale together, and his elegant foxy friend, the perceptive and kleptomaniacal Lady Cray. While the villain's exposure and motivation are inadequately developed, the tale's dramatic conclusion, the lowering setting and its entertaining denizens provide full compensation. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

YA-- Superintendent Richard Jury, of Scotland Yard fame, is back, but this time he is the suspect as well as the investigator of a murder. To the amazement of his lifelong friends, Jury falls rapidly in love with a widow, Jane Holdsworth, and plans a proposal of marriage. Her shocking death from a barbiturate overdose is ruled a suicide by the police, but neither Jury nor Jane's son Alex believes it. The superintendent's friend Melrose Plant infiltrates the Holdsworth household under the guise of a cataloging librarian in order to investigate the all-too-frequent ``accidents'' that plague them. The family members are introduced with humor and mystery as readers try to unravel the truth of the Holdsworths' fortune and Jane's death. A treat for all of Grimes's fans.-- Katherine Fitch, Jefferson Sci-Tech, Alexandria, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.