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Dust: A Richard Jury Mystery    by Martha Grimes order for
by Martha Grimes
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

At Room 523 in an upscale hotel on Clerkenwell Road in London, young Benny Keegan, the fellow filling in as room service waiter, makes a gruesome discovery. A wealthy young bachelor, Billy Maples, has been murdered. So, without disturbing anything that might be evidence, Benny wisely phones his special contact at New Scotland Yard: Superintendent Richard Jury.

When Jury arrives on the scene-of-the-crime at Zetter's Hotel and Restaurant, he is accompanied by Phyllis Nancy, a forensic pathologist who also happens to be Jury's very, very close acquaintance. With Jury and Nancy on the scene, the murder investigation is immediately off and running. There are, however, very few clues. At the same time, there are some rather peculiar complications in the case.

First, as for clues, Jury finds that Maples - prior to his demise - seems to have been a patron at DUST, a fashionable bar and nightclub near the hotel. Then, as for puzzling complications, Maples - for some mysterious reasons - had been rather inexplicably throwing money away by supporting some untalented artists; moreover, the independently wealthy Maples had been living a curious life as caretaker to Lamb House, the former home of Henry James, in the remote village of Rye.

With his old friend and amateur sleuth Melrose Plant dispatched as his assistant to Lamb House, Jury finds that an understanding of turn-of-the-century author Henry James might become the critical key in solving the murder. Also, digging more deeply into more recent history, Jury - in addition to moving the case forward by becoming more familiar with the American author - must also contend with those who would still hide dark, murderous secrets related to the Second World War.

Then, two more huge complications threaten to throw Jury completely off the trail of the murderer: First, Jury somewhat belatedly discovers that he is being outfoxed - once again - by none other than his nemesis, a charismatic psychotic master criminal. Second, Jury finds himself involved in a steamy and dangerous romance with the beautiful Detective Inspector Lu Aguilar.

With Jury, Plant, Aguilar, and the rest of the Martha Grimes' intriguing cast of characters, the complicated and compelling Dust moves resolutely towards a thrilling conclusion that solves the murder mystery but casts serious doubts on Jury's professional and personal future. Fans of the author's many Richard Jury mysteries will agree that this entertaining addition to the excellent series is like its predecessors: puzzling, and praise-worthy. Enjoy!

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