Martha Grimes – MWA Grand Master

PatZi & Martha - Interview on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

== It was such an honor to speak to Martha during the celebration of Joy on Paper's 5th Anniversary ==

Martha Grimes - Legendary Mystery Writer of America Grand Master

Wow! What a way to kick off the month long celebration of the 5th Anniversary of Joy on Paper! I was so excited that Martha Grimes, the brilliant author of the Richard Jury series, joined me to celebrate.

The first thing I learned when I bought a four-hundred-year-old cottage in England, was that pub life was the center of the village. I loved it! In those days the pubs closed in the afternoons. It was a quaint custom that made village life all the more appealing. The pub would close after lunch at 3 pm and would open up a few hours later. Some people complained. But I tell you that no gin and tonic ever tasted as good as the one you got when the pub opened at 5:30 pm. In nice weather there would always be a few people sitting around outside waiting. It was fun to chat with the locals. Life was calmer. One liked to think that the pub owner and (perhaps) his wife were having a bit of fun upstairs. The few tourists might gripe, but it was fun to explain how the law came into effect during World War I when the Defense of the Realm Act was passed in 1915 so that production of munitions would not be impaired. It would lead to talking about the war years. All the villagers had someone in their families in that war. And then someone would bring up Dunkirk, because many boats from the village joined The Little Ships of Dunkirk, the 850 private boats that sailed from Ramsgate to northern France to rescue over 300,000 soldier trapped on the beaches. 

That is why I love Martha Grime! So many of her books are set around a pub -- mostly in England, although she has dipped Richard Jury's toes into the New World with visits to Baltimore and Sante Fe. (The Horse You Came On, her book about a famous pub -- oops, saloon -- in Baltimore, earned her the keys to the city and the mayor even declared a Martha Grimes Day!)

In fact, if you visit her website, there is an interactive map of the pubs featured in her books.  I look forward to talking to her about Richard Jury and her breakthrough novel, The Five Bells & Bladebone , which was released in 1987 and became an instant New York Times bestseller.

Two of my other favorites are The Black Cat and The Old Contemptibles, which were also New York Times bestsellers in both hardcover and paperback.

One little scene -- the craft of capturing the reader...

It's really quite intriguing how our minds work. A mystery of all those little gray cells. (Thank you, Agatha Christie!) And all those little electrical charges that bounce around inside our heads. Why do certain ideas, certain phrases, certain first chapters of a book stay with us?

Of course, for me, since I have read over 10,000 books, there is a great deal bouncing around in my head. What I love is when an author makes such an impression on a gray cell that the vision, the idea, stays with me years after I have read a book.

One of the opening scenes in a book that often comes to mind is the opening from Martha Grime's The Anodyne Necklace... station...Paganini....Katie O'Brien...begrimed child...five pence...milk money...violin case...a poster....Evita...don't cry for me....

I keep a collection of old British coins on my desk...they remind me of the days when I lived in my lovely old cottage in an English village...with its one sweet shop, one butcher and three pubs...

Not only will you find a great deal of pleasure in reading Martha's Richard Jury series with titles based on British pubs, you will discover much about England and about the Art of Great Writing.  Which is why she was named the Mystery Writer of America Grand Master in 2012.

Visit Martha's website for a full list of her books: CLICK HERE

You can start reading Martha's books today to celebrate the life of this amazing author, whose works have enthralled her readers for years. Here are a few of my favorite Martha Grime's books...




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The Horse You Came On

The Anodyne Necklace

The Old Contemptibles

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