Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: The Knowledge by Martha Grimes

The Knowledge by Martha Grimes, August 2018, 368 pages, Grove Press, ISBN: 9781611855029

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Publisher's Blurb (copied from Amazon)

Robbie Parsons is one of London's finest, a black cab driver who knows every street, every theatre, every landmark in the city by heart. In his backseat is a man with a gun in his hand - a man who shot Robbie's previous pair of customers point-blank in front of the Artemis Club, a rarefied art gallery-cum-casino, then jumped in and ordered Parsons to drive. As the killer eventually escapes to Nairobi with ten-year-old Patty Haigh - one of a crew of stray kids who serve as the cabbies' eyes and ears at Heathrow and Waterloo - in pursuit, superintendent Richard Jury comes across the double-homicide in the Saturday paper.

Two days previously, Jury had met and instantly connected with one of the victims, a professor of astrophysics at Columbia and an expert gambler. Jury considers the murder a personal affront and is soon contending with a case that takes unexpected turns into Tanzanian gem mines, a closed casino in Reno, and a pub that only London's black cabbies, those who have 'the knowledge,' can find.


In this absolutely fascinating story Robbie Parsons persuades a very mature child named Patty with a gift for picking people's pockets to follow the murderer to Heathrow Airport. The story continues with Patty stealing a boarding pass and befriending the murderer “B B” and accompanying him to Dubai and eventually Nairobi, Kenya.

This American author always uses the names of English public houses in the titles of her books and she seems to keep close to the British way of life in her stories, although her main readership is in the US. There are small differences in English vocabulary that cater more for American readers than this country but when compared to other American writers who set their books in the UK such as Elizabeth George or Charles Todd, she compares most favourably. The author ensures that her books do not include any extreme violence or sexual content.

I enjoyed the book, the twenty-fourth in the series tremendously as it seems to have been about four years since the last one she wrote in this series. Welcome back!! The gap seems to have been good for her as I don’t remember her previous books being as good as this one was. Detective Superintendent Richard Jury of Scotland Yard is a very engaging detective and he has some most unusual friends, Melrose Plant and Marshall Trueblood among them, who are very helpful in aiding him to solve the crime.

THE KNOWLEDGE is a really very extraordinary police procedural that was most enjoyable and I hope that this very talented and experienced author continues to write such imaginative books of this high quality. Strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, October 2018.

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