My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've recently been somewhat disappointed by the books that I've read in this series - a series that I have, on the whole, found very enjoyable. So, it makes me happy to report that I found Rainbow's End to be quite entertaining. Perhaps the summer heat has addled my brain, but I liked it very much.
This book is the thirteenth in the long (and continuing) Inspector Jury series. As in the last book, The Horse You Came In On, we find Jury being persuaded to take a trip to the United States to follow up on potential clues regarding the death of an American who died at Old Sarum in England. The woman was a silversmith from Santa Fe, who created amazing works in silver and turquoise. Her death at first seems to have been from natural causes or an accident, but District Commander Brian Macalvie doesn't think so.
From our previous acquaintance with Macalvie, we know that he's NEVER wrong. His instincts regarding murder are unassailable, and so when he suspects that the supposed natural deaths of three women in three different locations in England are somehow related, Superintendent Jury knows better than to dismiss his theories out of hand.
The investigation reveals that the two other women who died had visited Santa Fe in recent months before their deaths and they could have met the Santa Fe silversmith who died. On this somewhat tenuous lead, Jury finds himself winging his way to New Mexico to follow up on Macalvie's instinctive suspicions.
Meanwhile, back in England, Sgt. Wiggins is in hospital with a mysterious malady related to an electrical experiment and Melrose Plant is assigned to look in on him and to undertake certain inquiries related to the case, as well as a personal inquiry on behalf of his friend, Jury.
While he's laid up, Wiggins is brought books to read, among them Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time in which her detective solves a historical crime while flat on his back in a hospital bed. Inspired, Wiggins decides to try his hand at researching issues related to the three women's deaths in hopes of helping to solve the mystery.
In Santa Fe, Jury seeks out people who knew the dead woman, including the cousin who had gone to England to identify the body. As he talks to these people, he builds an image of a woman who was impractical and rather other-worldly, maybe a bit lazy - totally unlike the 13-year-old sister she left behind.
The sister, Mary Dark Hope, is one of Martha Grimes' typical precocious and quirky children characters. She is completely down-to-earth, practical, and self-sufficient, and, of course, she has a pet. In her case, the pet is a coyote that she raised from a pup. She tells everybody he is part German Shepherd, but nobody is fooled.
The investigation proceeds apace, involving many of our favorite characters from previous books. and slowly all the threads begin to connect, leading to a pretty exciting conclusion.
I was quite taken with Grimes's descriptions of Santa Fe and its crowded restaurants and craft shops along Canyon Road, as well as its people who devote themselves to serving the tourists who flock there. It all sounded spot on to me, an accurate depiction of the Santa Fe and the New Mexico that I remember from visits. She was particularly good at describing the desert and the quality of light that draws so many artists and would-be artists to the area.
All in all, this was a satisfying read. I'm glad to find Grimes on track once more.
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