My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Superintendent Richard Jury of Scotland Yard seems to constantly be meeting beautiful women to whom he is instantly attracted, but the attraction never goes anywhere. The women never stick. That's true again in Jerusalem Inn, but at least this time the beautiful woman has a good reason for not pursuing a relationship. She's dead.
Jury meets the lovely Helen Minton in a snow-covered graveyard in the Newcastle village of Washington at Christmastime. He has taken days off to spend Christmas with his cousin's family in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and, delaying the inevitability of their company on a afternoon, is taking a walk in the graveyard when he comes upon Helen. She seems unwell and he walks her back to her home and makes a date to have dinner with her. But, on the appointed day, when he goes to collect her at the Old Hall museum where she works, he finds the local police already there. Helen Minton has been discovered dead.
She had a heart condition and at first it appears that her death may have been due to natural causes, but a postmortem confirms that she was poisoned.
Jury sets off through the snowbound countryside to find her only known relative, a cousin who is in a nearby village. Meanwhile, his aristocratic frequent sidekick, Melrose Plant, is already headed for that same village, along with Aunt Agatha and Vivian Rivington, one of Jury's previous "beautiful women who didn't stick." Melrose, Agatha, and Vivian are going to a Christmas house party at a famous critic's house, along with a number of writers and artists.
Tensions are apparent from the beginning among the various house partiers, but who would ever guess that those tensions would end in murder? Well, only someone reading a Martha Grimes cozy mystery perhaps.
Soon, a thoroughly disliked member of the party is found dead in the snow, having been shot, and Jury and the local constabulary, as well as Melrose Plant, seek the murderer. But was this murder somehow related to the murder of Helen Minton and why does the critic's wife seem to be fading fast? Another case of poisoning perhaps?
Well, we can be sure, of course, that Superintendent Jury will make all the necessary connections and that murder will out and justice be served. In a manner of speaking anyway.
This series is a fun and light read, not at all taxing for a hot summer day. All problems are solved and inconvenient facts are swept under the rug by the ending.
And the handsome Richard Jury who is always very attractive to the women and young girls in his cases still hasn't found a woman who'll stick.
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