The Man with a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes

Reviewed by Rosalie Paul

Two bodies in two days; both found at Inns. First was a man, William Small, Esq. at the above title then a Mr. Ainsley at the Jack and Hammer in Long Piddleton. The owner of the first pub is Simon Matchett. The waitress who discovered the body in a beer keg in the cellar is Daphne Murch. An old guy called Twig also waits tables. Inspector Richard Jury interviews those present including Oliver Darrington, a writer, and his live-in girlfriend, Sheila Hogg. He’s a snob; she’s a floozy. Marshall Trueblood, an antiques dealer in Long Piddleton, Melrose Plant, ex-lord, and his Aunt Agatha, who lives at Ardry End are also questioned. Vivian Rivington (sister Isabel). Willie and Lorraine Bicester-Strachan (two more snobs) and Reverend Denzil Smith of the church of St. Rules and Mill Ball of the Gatehouse Tearoom and Bakery, who made a delivery there around back.

A third murder occurs at the Swan at Two Nicks Inn, one mile from Ardry End, the owner found the body -one Mrs. Willypoole. The dead man was Jubal Creed, from Wigglesworth, in Cambridgeshire.

A fourth body is discovered on December 24th at the Cock and Bottle. The victim was Ruby Judd, a maid at the vicarage. She was buried in the road with one hand sticking out. Melrose found the body on the way to Sidbury.

Then the day after Christmas the Reverend gets it in the chest with a letter opener. He is the fifth body.

Jury dug back in the police records back sixteen years when Simon’s wife was murdered. He was cleared because he was on the stage at the time of the murder. Then Melrose showed Jury how Simon pulled it off with the help of his lover. Ruby had his wife’s bracelet and remembered back when she was a child. So Simon killed her first when she told him she knew then he killed the uncle’s two friends who also knew. It wasn’t long before the Reverend figured it out he then had to go. So Jury had a show down in the church with Simon and captured him. Jury found Ruby’s diary in one of the pews. Jury’s boss is inspector Chief Superintendent Racer, he is always yelling at Jury. His secretary is Fiona Clingmore. Her clothes do that – cling more!

Published in 1981

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