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Foul Matter    by Martha Grimes order for
Foul Matter
by Martha Grimes
Order:  USA  Can
Signet, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

In a departure from her Richard Jury series, and with tongue in cheek, Martha Grimes has graced us with a funny, intriguing, and delightfully entertaining exposť of the publishing world. Hopefully, her version is exaggerated - at least the more blood-thirsty parts - but the machinations of the characters are hilarious.

There are two hit men, each with a conscience; a man in the witness protection program who hides out in Manhattan; a writer who can't find the ending to his book; and people in power in publishing firms misusing that power for their own ends. The reader meets writers with great talent who know they are good; others with great talent who question each word they write; one who writes a gamut of genres and is smart enough to know she is lucky to be published only because of her immense output; and an editor who decides he's in the wrong end of the business and should be writing his own work, not editing others. His description of a weekend at a writers' workshop is hilarious. But does Grimes write from experience there?

This is a get-away-from-it-all kind of book. One to be read anywhere at any time. One to make you realize how hard it is to get into print today, and to be very glad that Martha Grimes is one of the ones who succeeded.

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