Crime Novel Quotes – The Blue Last

Just re-read Martha Grimes’ crime novel The Blue Last (2001), in the series featuring Richard Jury and Melrose Plant:

“Like Jury himself. [Mickey] did not jump to conclusions; yet at the same time, he acted on instinct. Jury knew it was difficult to do both. He recalled sitting in a pub with Mickey when they were working a case nine or ten years ago and not a word passed between them for ten minutes. Mickey reminded Jury of Brian Macalvie; they both drove their crime scene people mad with their extended silences.” p. 8

What lay beneath this calm exterior was desolation. It was an emotion no kid should have to feel — not Benny, not Gemma, not himself [Jury] back then. Yet he wondered if it wasn’t the legacy of childhood. At some point in the game, you would come to it, no matter how you were raised, no matter if you had a big family around you, desolation was inevitable, it ran beneath everything, the always-available unbearably adult emotion that clung to one’s still-breathing body like drowned clothes.” p. 79

“It was a painting of the Annunciation, and Melrose liked the startled I-can’t-believe-what-you-just said look on the face of Mary, turning to look at the angel delivering what was supposed to be really good news.” p. 128

“Aldo Luzi leaned against the doorjamb and said, ‘He was only twenty-seven when he died.’ It was so sad, the way he said it. ‘Masaccio.’

“Melrose asked, “What did he die of?’

“Luzi thought for a moment. ‘Want. He died of want.’

“Melrose colored, thinking that was something none of them, none of their three untalented selves, would die of, and felt diminished.” p. 130

“Melrose said, ‘You know, the more we go on with this, the nearer we get to the question, not the answer.’

“Trueblood looked a little shell-shocked, his eyes like cartoon eyes, Xs in place of pupils. ‘What do you mean?’

“‘I don’t know, really. It’s just something I felt.'” p. 141

“‘It would have been impossible to break the code by pure plodding; at some point, intuition, the ability to actually think irrationally was needed. Genius was needed, like Turing‘s and a few others’. They could see the ghost behind the scrambled letters, if you understand what I mean. It’s impossible to obliterate language completely. There’s always a ghost of the original meaning, and if you’re good at it, you can see the ghost; you can see the pattern. I’m not doing the whole thing justice, the way I’m explaining it. It was infernally complicated, the Enigma stuff. Devilishly.'” p. 263 [More on Alan Turing.]


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