At a Glance
Reading the Martha Grimes books in order is such a treat for the lovers of crime mystery novels. The Richard Jury series has no less than 23 books spanning over three decades of pure British fiction written by a American. There is a very good reason why the author has been named the ‘American queen of British mystery’.
Martha Grimes (website) was born in 1931 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Growing up in Garrett County in Western Maryland, she spent every summer she could at her mother’s hotel in Western Maryland. Her father died whens he was 6 years old.
She attended the University of Maryland where she earned both her BA and MA degrees. While enrolled in the Creative Writing Program at the Iowa University, she worked on her Ph.D where she studied to be a poet. Over the years she has taught at several universities in the US, including the University of Iowa, Frostburg State University, and Montgomery College, where she taught English for 15 years.
When her first Richard Jury book called The Man With a Load of Mischief was published, Martha Grimes was around 50 years old, working at the time at the University of Iowa as a teaching assistant.
Before being published, it was rejected for several years until it was finally noticed and accepted in 1981.
She always loved reading British mysteries, so for her it was a natural conclusion that she would write British mysteries. Her books became hugely popular not only because they are indeed very good, but also because let’s face it, there aren’t all together too many British mysteries written by American authors. The other author I can think of is probably P.D. James.
As an interesting sidenode, the names of the Jury books come after British pubs. Most of the pub names featured in the books are some that the author has actually been at. Martha Grimes admits that she was a heavy drinker throughout the years. Yet her drinking never ever interfered with her writing. Some say in fact that it helped them more than one might care to admit.
In 1992 she broke away from writing her successful series to publish a contemporary novel called The End of the Pier. While the Jury books still get written, the author has so far also written several other shorter series including the Andi Olivier series and the Emma Graham series.
The Richard Jury series has been adapted to a TV series by by ZDF, the German Public Broadcaster in cooperation with ORF, the Austrian TV Broadcaster, initially adapting the books The Man With A Load Of Mischief and Help the Poor Struggler.
Currently the author is living in Bethesda where she works on her next book. She feels here she is much closer to her family here than on Capitol Hill where she lived 23 years.
Here are the Martha Grimes books in order for her Jury series, as well as all the ‘other books’ she has written. Footnote: the author doesn’t like the non-Jury series called ‘these other book’. However in most fan’s minds, well, they aren’t Jury books, although personally I like them almost as much.
Richard Jury Series In Order
1. The Man with a Load of Mischief (Richard Jury #1), 1981
2. The Old Fox Deceiv’d (Richard Jury #2), 1982
3. The Anodyne Necklace (Richard Jury #3), 1983
4. The Dirty Duck (Richard Jury #4), 1984
5. Jerusalem Inn (Richard Jury #5), 1984
6. Help the Poor Struggler (Richard Jury #6), 1985
7. The Deer Leap (Richard Jury #7), 1985
8. I Am the Only Running Footman (Richard Jury #8), 1986
9. The Five Bells and Bladebone (Richard Jury #9), 1987
10. The Old Silent (Richard Jury #10), 1989
11. The Old Contemptibles (Richard Jury #11), 1991
12. The Horse You Came In On (Richard Jury #12), 1993
13. Rainbow’s End (Richard Jury #13), 1995
14. The Case Has Altered (Richard Jury #14), 1997
15. The Stargazey (Richard Jury #15), 1998
16. The Lamorna Wink (Richard Jury #16), 1999
17. The Blue Last (Richard Jury #17), 2001
18. The Grave Maurice (Richard Jury #18), 2002
19. The Winds of Change (Richard Jury #19), 2004
20. The Old Wine Shades (Richard Jury #20), 2006
21. Dust (Richard Jury #21), 2007
22. The Black Cat (Richard Jury #22), 2010
23. Vertigo 42 (Richard Jury #23), 2014
Emma Graham Series In Order
1. Hotel Paradise (Emma Graham #1), 1996
2. Cold Flat Junction (Emma Graham #2), 2000
3. Belle Ruin (Emma Graham #3), 2005
4. Fadeaway Girl (Emma Graham #4), 2011
Andi Olivier Series In Order
1. Biting the Moon (Andi Olivier #1), 1999
2. Dakota (Andi Olivier #2), 2008
Other Books By Martha Grimes
The End of the Pier, 1993 (features Maud Chadwick, who is also a character in the Emma Graham series)
Send Bygraves, 1990
The Train Now Departing, 2001
Foul Matter, 2003
Double, Double, 2013 (memoir)
The Way of All Fish, 2014 (sequel to Foul Matter)