Martha Grimes’ Pet Crimes: Best in Shelter

Martha Grimes
Martha Grimes (photo: Astrid Riecken/The Washington Post)
In a priceless one-on-one interview at the Mystery Writers of America conference in April, Martha Grimes, MWA’s Grand Master for 2012, talked about the things that inspire her.

Naturally she talked about DCI Richard Jury, whose cases she’s chronicled through 22 novels, starting with The Man with a Load of Mischief in 1981. (“I really thought he was going to settle down with Lady Kennington, but [then] I thought this woman is not trusting enough for Jury and if there’s something he deserves it’s that.” Thus Jury remains a bachelor; only now he’s involved with two women!)

She talked about where she finds the titles for her books. I Am the Only Running Footman was a real pub in London’s Mayfair district. (“Who could resist that? I couldn’t.”) She spotted the pub called Rainbow’s End outside Salisbury, and one that caught her attention recently was Vertigo 42, a champagne bar in central London. (Inspiration for a new Richard Jury novel perhaps?)

She talked about her series featuring the inquisitive, observant 12-year-old Emma Graham. The latest is 2011’s Fadeaway Girl. (“They’re very autobiographical.”)

She talked about her two Andi Oliver books, Biting the Moon and Dakota, both of which deal with animal cruelty, a subject about which Grimes is passionate. (She donated two-thirds of her royalties from Biting the Moon to animal welfare organizations.)

And that led her to talk about her new “pet” project: Best In Shelter.

Beagle mix
A nose for crime!

Best in Shelter is an Internet-based virtual dog show in which dogs from four shelters in the Washington, D.C., area (Grimes’s home turf) compete for prize money to benefit their shelters. Anyone can log in to vote for their favorite, and all of the pups strutting their stuff are available for adoption as well.

Guaranteed they’re the cutest little faces ever to do a stint behind bars. It would be a crime not to vote for your favorite!

Voting runs from June 14 to June 17 and is limited to one vote per person, per day.

Leslie Gilbert Elman is the author of Weird But True: 200 Astounding, Outrageous, and Totally Off the Wall Facts. Follow her on Twitter @leslieelman.

See all posts by Leslie Gilbert Elman for Criminal Element.


  1. Saundra Peck

    Thank you for the post Leslie, and I will be sure to vote for my fav “Best in Shelter” pet… What a great project that will hopefully help many more shelter pets, congrats to Ms Grimes for making it her “pet project”!!! I will have to look over her many titles and find one of my next reads.

  2. Leslie Gilbert Elman

    This is really a project from her heart. I think it’s a wonderful idea.

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