Oline Cogdill

grimesmartha_authorFor me, it was the gloves. Gloves so richly described with supple leather, myriad colors and different designs that I wanted to run out and buy multiple pairs.

Never mind that it was August in Florida; that I had no winter trips planned; and that it was doubtful that I could have found a store in the Sunshine State that would be stocking gloves during the summer.

Still, the more I read, the more I wanted gloves.

Blame Martha Grimes.

Sometimes it's not the sturdy plots or the rich characters that stick in your mind years after you've a mystery.

Sometimes, it's the little things that stay with you.

That's how it's often been with Martha Grimes' novels.

Grimes has been named the richly deserved honor of being Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.

She'll receive this honor during the 64th annual Edgar Awards banquet to be held April 26 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.

I'll be interviewing Martha Grimes during the Edgar symposium on April 25.

So to prepare for the interview, I have been thinking a lot about her novels, especially those 22 novels with Scotland Yard inspector Richard Jury and his friend Melrose Plant.

The gloves scenes occur in The Blue Last, which has a compelling plot about Jury investigating the accuracy of his own memory as he confronts how World War II’s devastation changed his life. The recollections of WWII are harrowing. But I also vividly remember Melrose Plant's stop at glove shop cross-country tour of Italy. I was as enchanted with the gloves as was Melrose in The Blue Last.

I delved into several Josephine Tey novels after reading Grimes' The Grave Maurice. Tey is a long-time favorite of mine so it was quite fun to rediscover an author I hadn't read in decades. I credit that reading binge on Grimes. In The Grave Maurice, Jury is recovering in the hospital; his days filled with Josephine Tey novels and watching Plant rummage through his fruit baskets. (I don't remember, but am pretty sure I also had a craving for apples and grapes.)

The Old Wine Shades — the only Jury novel named after a wine bar instead of a pub — had me longing for a lovely glass of wine. OK, so that's not so unusual, but The Old Wine Shades made me thirsty.

This will be the fourth interview I've conducted with Martha and the second one in front of an audience. Regardless of the number of times we've talked, I am very excited to interview her during Edgar week and I believe it is an honor to be asked to do this.

Oh, and when I finally did buy gloves, I purchased about 4 pair, as enchanted by the colors and styles as was my old friend Melrose.