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Vertigo42There’s comfort food such as chicken soup when you’re feeling ill or hot apple pie with ice cream when you’re sad or hot chocolate on a cold night. What about the concept of a comfort book? Sort of like a best friend who you may see once every two or three years, but every time you meet it feels like yesterday. So, what about a comfort book?  It’s been four years since Martha Grimes wrote her last Richard Jury mystery, The Black Cat, but now we have a new one, Vertigo 42 and it’s like old friends coming back to visit. The old crew is back.

Like all Jury mysteries, it contains dogs, children, and his friends Carole-anne Palutski, Melrose Plant, Marshall Trueblood, Vivian Rivington and Diane Demorney, as well as Plant’s aunt Agatha. They seem to have been relegated to the backseat though, having much smaller roles than I remember in previous books. However, Jury’s Sergeant Wiggins seems a little smarter than he did four years ago.

Twenty two years ago a young girl was attending a party, fell into an empty in-ground swimming pool and died. Seventeen years ago, the hostess of the above party fell down a flight of stairs and died. Presently, a young woman fell out of a tower and died. Are all of these incidents related? Even though Superintendent Jury is on vacation, he gets involved in the investigation.

As are all Richard Jury books, Vertigo 42 is a satisfying read. The title is taken from a bar atop a building in London, a slight deviation from the pub-originated titles of the previous books, but still somewhat related.

I will say that the story was a little obtuse, hard to follow the connection at times. Also, in previous books Jury interacted with young children and dogs, whereas this book merely talks about them. I miss that. There was a certain satisfaction that came from these interactions. It put a smile on my face.

One thing I found fascinating (which I don’t remember thinking about before) was that a female author has created a male character that notices things a woman would notice. Grimes’ description of clothing and rooms, wallpaper, furniture is certainly not how this man would describe them. I didn’t mind this…I just noticed it.

Don’t get me wrong. I really liked Vertigo 42 and am still a Richard Jury fan, but something just seemed absent from this outing.

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