Tangled Web UK Review November 2000
File Updated: 06/11/00
The Lamorna Wink The Lamorna Wink by Martha Grimes
pbk out September 00 (Headline) at £5.99
Once again, I have to wonder how this ‘new international best-seller’ gets so many Press plaudits on its covers. Martha Grimes is an American lady who has written a string of novels, some about the highly unlikely hero of this book, Melrose Plant, a gent who has rejected his peerage and spends his time assisting Scotland Yard in a private capacity.
The blurb says that Ms Grimes visits England regularly to research her books, but she still has a very strange notion of how the British police system operates. Melrose Plant rents a house in Cornwall and when embroiled in the disappearance of a local woman, he assists a Divisional Commander of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in his enquires. Why a senior brass-hat comes to be personally investigating another murder is not explained. Then somehow, a Sergeant from Scotland Yard appears, in advance of Plant’s old pal, Richard Jury , a more senior flatfoot from the Yard and Melrose is in there helping all three coppers, in the traditionally-impossible way of ten thousand other whodunnits.
The book is too long, has too many characters, is elaborately over-contrived and in spite of Ms Grimes’ research visits, has too many Americanisms to ring true as an English yarn. The standard of writing is fine and for those who like chatty, if highly unbelievable novels, this provides a few hours’ diverting escapism - but it would be better if she set her stories in New, rather than Old England

( Bernard Knight - Author of the highly acclaimed Crowner John series set in Medieval Devon)