Long Piddleton is the town where many of the recurring characters live, including Melrose Plant and his Aunt Agatha.
~ Ruthven and Martha, husband and wife, manservant and housekeeper for many years, from when Plant was a small boy. Ruthven loves to lie to Aunt Agatha when Plant is hiding from her.
~ Dick Scroggs, the publican and owner of the Jack and Hammer pub, where Plant and the other residents gather.
~ Mrs. Withersby, the charwoman at the Jack and Hammer, spends most of her time sleeping by the fire and trying to get free drinks from the regulars.
~ Theo Wrenn Browne, a pompous owner of the local bookstore. Plant can't stand him, but Aunt Agatha frequently joins him in stirring up trouble.
~ Ada Crisp, a mild and meek shopkeeper whose shop is next door to Browne's bookstore. Browne tries various schemes to take over her store so he can expand his.
~ Marshall Trueblood, an antiques dealer, who dresses flamboyantly. He's quite knowledgeable about antiques and helps Plant when he needs advice to play various roles Jury assigns him.
~ Diane DeMorney, single, wealthy and attractive, but can only count Jury and Plant as friends. She knows nothing about astrology, but writes a column for the local paper (she just makes things up).
~ Vivian Rivington, Jury is in lover with her, but she is secretly in love with Plant. Vivian was engaged to an Italian count for years and Plant and Trueblood often try to sabotage her engagement.
These characters sometimes have a large role in some books and other times are barely mentioned. But it's fun to have such a large cast of quirky characters.
Photo from wikipedia commons.
This review did its job, as it made me aware of, and more importantly, interested in, an author that I had been unaware of before. Your description of the recurring characters was particularly engaging.
burntchestnut, This series by Martha Grimes offers a nice respite from gory mysteries. I haven't read the last two installments. It's such a long-lived series that hopefully more installments are forthcoming, despite the recent mixed reviewes.
I love this series. I have read each of the books. Even when the plots are disappointing, the characters never are. It's like catching up with old friends!