All 35+ Martha Grimes Books in Order [Ultimate Guide]

While it is not the only series that Martha Grimes has written, the Richard Jury series has become her most recognizable. It is also the longest series of all the Martha Grimes books in order. But she has also written a few other small series, two standalones, a collection, and a nonfiction book.

By far, however, the quaint English atmosphere in the Richard Jury books has become synonymous with her name. Grimes was part of redefining wave of the mystery genre in the 1980s when her debut was published. For Grimes, that momentum was lead by Richard Jury.

About Martha Grimes

Martha Grimes was born in Pittsburgh during the Great Depression. Her mother’s family owned a hotel resort in western Maryland, where they spent summers until her father died when she was six years old.

After that her mother moved Grimes and her brother to Maryland to run the hotel before it went out of business. Grimes went on to get a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Maryland as well as taking writing courses through the University of Iowa with a focus on poetry.

Many years later when Grimes was trying to get her debut novel published, she was a single mother with a drinking problem and working a job she hated teaching English at Montgomery College.

She was 50 when The Man with a Load of Mischief came out in 1981. It would be several more years until her name first appeared on a bestseller list, but now she has sold more than 10 million copies of her books in the U.S. alone.

In 2012 she was made Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, which is the organization’s highest award, and Grimes joined the ranks with the likes of Agatha Christie and John le Carre.

The inspiration for her debut novel came in 1977 when she was flipping through a book of English pubs and saw one named The Man with a Load of Mischief. She immediately thought it would be a striking title, and the story and characters followed in the subsequent years.

The title of every Richard Jury book shares its name with a pub or bar in England.

Where to start with Martha Grimes?

While it is entirely up to the reader and whichever series interests you the most, the most common place to begin reading Martha Grimes is with her Richard Jury series. These books make up the most of her bibliography and are the ones that brought her the most acclaim.

The other books by Martha Grimes bear similarities to this series, but there are subtle differences as well as more prominent ones. For example, the Richard Jury books are the only ones she has written that take place in England. So, if you are looking for the cozy murder mystery atmosphere with quaint English villages, you should absolutely begin with the Jury series.

However, if you’re interested in beginning with a book that is slightly darker in tone, keep reading to find out which series best fits the bill.

Martha Grimes Books in Order

Richard Jury Books

Our list of the Martha Grimes books in order begins with her Richard Jury series. This starts with her debut novel and subsequent releases, which all follow her beloved detective of Richard Jury.

Richard Jury begins the series as a chief inspector for the Scotland Yard and must investigate numerous murders throughout England. While each book follows a new murder and investigation, it is recommended to read the books in order of publication.

That’s because there are many recurring characters and the chronological order matches the publication order. So, if you intend to read all the books and do not want to read spoilers, the publication order will offer the best reading experience.

  1. The Man with a Load of Mischief (1981)
  2. The Old Fox Deceiv’d (1982)
  3. The Anodyne Necklace (1983)
  4. The Dirty Duck (1984)
  5. Jerusalem Inn (1984)
  6. The Deer Leap (1985)
  7. Help the Poor Struggler (1985)
  8. I Am the Only Running Footman (1986)
  9. The Five Bells and Bladebone (1987)
  10. The Old Silent (1989)
  11. The Old Contemptibles (1991)
  12. The Horse You Came in On (1993)
  13. Rainbow’s End (1995)
  14. The Case Has Altered (1997)
  15. The Stargazey (1998)
  16. The Lamorna Wink (1999)
  17. The Blue Last (2001)
  18. The Grave Maurice (2002)
  19. The Winds Change (2004)
  20. The Old Wine Shades (2006)
  21. Dust (2007)
  22. The Black Cat (2010)
  23. Vertigo 42 (2014)
  24. The Knowledge (2018)
  25. The Old Success (2019)

Standalone Books

Martha Grimes has also published two standalone titles. The first is a long-form poem, while the second book is more akin to the traditional mysteries that became most well-known for.

However, unlike the Richard Jury books, The End of the Pier takes place in a small, rural American town. As well, a character from her Emma Graham series does feature in the standalone book.

  1. Send Bygraves (1989)
  2. The End of the Pier (1992)

Emma Graham Books

While Richard Jury is her longest and by far her most popular series, Grimes has also written a few other series, including the Emma Graham books. This series depicts the pettiness and cruelty of small town America as it focuses on the difficult decisions a young girl must make as she becomes an adult.

Similar to Grimes’ own upbringing, the setting of this series takes place against the backdrop of a decaying resort hotel. Grimes has said that it mirrors her own upbringing, except for the addition of the sheriff and the murders.

  1. Hotel Paradise (1995)
  2. Cold Flat Junction (2000)
  3. Belle Ruin (2005)
  4. Fadeaway Girl (2011)

Andi Oliver Books

Next in our list of the Martha Grimes books in order is a series which takes place in the U.S. as well. The first book takes place in New Mexico and features two characters from her previous books, while the sequel takes place in North Dakota. This series is much darker than her cozier Richard Jury mysteries.

  1. Biting the Moon (1999)
  2. Dakota (2008)

Foul Matter Books

This duology stands apart from the rest of the books in Martha Grimes’s bibliography because it is also a tongue-in-cheek critique of the publishing industry. The books still contain the murder mystery readers have come to expect from Grimes, but against the backdrop of the cutthroat publishing industry.

  1. Foul Matter (2003)
  2. The Way of All Fish (2014)

Novella Collection

The only novella collection in our list of the Martha Grimes books in order is The Train Now Departing. It contains two novellas.

  1. The Train Now Departing (2000)

Nonfiction Book

Finally, Grimes has written one nonfiction book in collaboration with her son, Ken Grimes. Each contributes equally about their experience with alcoholism from stories about drinking, recovery, relapse, friendship, travel, work, success, and failure.

  1. Double Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism (2013)

A Summary of Martha Grimes Books in Order

Since the Richard Jury books are by far what Martha Grimes has become most well-known for, below you will find the summaries of the first ten books in that series. This will give you a great overview of the series and the dynamic of Richard Jury’s investigations.

The Man with a Load of Mischief Martha Grimes Books in Order

1. The Man with a Load of Mischief

The village of Long Piddleton has always been wary of strangers, but it is shocked when the body of a man is found in a cask of ale in the cellar of the Man with a Load of Mischief. Then a second body appears above the door of the Jack and Hammer.

The village looks like a picturesque postcard, but some very sinister is going on. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury from the Scotland Yard arrives to track down the murderer and receives a clue that the culprit may come from within the village limits.

The Old Fox Deceiv’d Richard Jury

2. The Old Fox Deceiv’d

Rackmoor is a tiny fishing village in Yorkshire with a tangled past of unrequited loves, unrevenged wrongs, and undiscovered murders. Then, on a foggy Twelfth Night as the North Sea is wild with wind, a bizarre murder disturbs the village.

There are no easy answers for Inspector Jury to find. He can’t even be certain as to the identity of the victim. Is it Gemma Temple, an imposter, or Dillys March, Colonel Titus Crael’s long-lost ward, returning after eight years to the Colonel’s country seat and to a share of his fortune?

The Anodyne Necklace Martha Grimes

3. The Anodyne Necklace

A spinster whose passion was bird-watching, a dotty peer who pinched pennies, and a baffling murder made the tiny village of Littlebourne a most extraordinary place. Then a severed finger made a ghastly clue in the killing that led local constable from a corpse to a boggy footpath to a beautiful lady’s mansion.

But Richard Jury did not take that path. Instead he traveled to the slightly disreputable pub the Anodyne Necklace. Once he was there the drinks loosened enough tongues to find a connection between the village murder and a mugging in London…along with a treasure map that could chart the way to another crime.

The Dirty Duck Richard Jury

4. The Dirty Duck

Miss Gwendolyn Bracegirdle of Sarasota, Florida has just finished watching a performance of As You Like It when she takes her last drink in The Dirty Duck pub in Stratford. Her throat is slit mere minutes later and the only clue is two lines from an unknown poem printed across a theater program.

It appears that the razor-happy serial killer is targeting a group of rich American tourists. Richard Jury was just passing through the town for a glimpse of Lady Kennington, but instead ends up taking a crash course into the bloodier side of Elizabethan verse.

Jerusalem Inn Martha Grimes Books in Order

5. Jerusalem Inn

On his way to a brief holiday, Jury meets a woman he thinks he could fall in love with. Even if meeting her in a snow-covered graveyard is not the best way to begin an attachment. Then he meets Father Rourke, who draws him a semiotic square.

Just three days before Christmas, Jury’s aristocratic and unofficial assistant — Melrose Plant — arrives at Spinney Abbey. The guests are snowbound and as they gather in the dining room, Lady Assington declares that they should have a murder.

The Deer Leap Martha Grimes

6. The Deer Leap

Within the small village of Ashdown Dean, pets have been dying in a series of seemingly innocuous accidents. The puzzling deaths have raised idle gossip over a pint at the village pub, Deer Leap, but it hardly seems cause to bring in Richard Jury of the Scotland Yard.

But Jury and Melrose, the affable former Earl of Caverness, are brought to town by their friend Polly Praed. The impatient Polly yanked open a call box in the pouring rain and was not prepared for what landed at her feet. The case is now deadly and sure cause for calling in the Scotland Yard.

Help the Poor Struggler Richard Jury

7. Help the Poor Struggler

The Hound of the Baskervilles used to bay around bleak Dartmoor, but now it is the tragic murder of three children that haunts the area. Richard Jury joins forces with the local constable Brian Macalvie to find the murderer.

Their hunt begins at a pub, Help the Poor Struggler, before it leads to the estate of Lady Jessica. She is a ten-year-old orphaned heiress living with her mysterious uncle and an ever-changing series of governesses. Suspense is spreading across the forbidding landscape as an old injustice returns to haunt Macalvie.

I Am the Only Running Footman Martha Grimes

8. I Am the Only Running Footman

A hitchhiker is found dead in the Devon wood. Then, a year later on a similarly rainy night, there is another murder. But this time the victim is found just outside the I Am the Only Running Footman pub near Berkeley Square in London’s Mayfair District.

Brian Macalvie is sure the murders are connected, and so Richard Jury is drawn into the Porphyria killings. From the streets of London to the village of Somers Abbas, Jury and Macalvie are joined by the stolid if hypochondriac Sergeant Wiggins and the reluctant Melrose Plant as they navigate a labyrinthine set of clues.

The Five Bells and Bladebone Martha Grimes Books in Order

9. The Five Bells and Bladebone

A dismembered corpse is found in an antique writing bureau and the recipient of the piece of furniture, Marshall Trueblood, is the first to protest. Who would want to kill Simon Lean, the greedy nephew of the wealthy Lady Summerston?

Only Richard Jury would suggest a connection between the corpse and the murder of a brassy Limehouse lady named Sadie Driver who was found dead near Wapping Old Stairs. But only if that stone-cold body on the slipway is really Sadie, because even her brother can’t swear to it.

The Old Silent Richard Jury

10. The Old Silent

Richard Jury witnesses a murder in a West Yorkshire inn called the Old Silent. Meanwhile, his colleague Melrose Plant wishes he could commit one as he drives his Aunt Agatha to the Old Swan in Harrogate.

Caught up in a triple murder, Jury would go to any lengths to help Nell Healey, the lovely widow of one of the victims. But Nell Healey remains silent as the Yorkshire moors, quiet as the grave, while the scope of the mystery widens.

Final thoughts on Martha Grimes books in order

Trends occur in a loop with themes reappearing and gaining new popularity over time. The cozy mystery genre is the perfect example of that. The genre never went out of style, but is experiencing a new surge in the 2020s, long after its emergence in the 1920s, and a generation after the 1980s when the Martha Grimes books in order began.

The majority of her works are the Richard Jury books, which are certainly cozy mysteries with the depiction of quaint English villages, colorful characters, and an abundance of murders.

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