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A Monstrous Regiment of Women Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 220 customer reviews
Book 2 of 13 in the Mary Russell Series

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$7.99 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 11 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King came up with a completely original story that had Sherlock Holmes as one of its principal characters but was in no way part of the Holmes canon. The focus of that book was a young woman, Mary Russell. Now in A Monstrous Regiment of Women, Mary Russell's adventures as a student of the famous detective continue. A series of murders claims members of a strange suffrage organization's wealthy young female volunteers, and Mary, with Holmes in the background, investigates, little knowing what danger she personally faces.

Laurie R. King is also the author of the Edgar Award-winning novel A Grave Talent. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

King's second mystery tale of a young woman who's a protege of Sherlock Holmes.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553574566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553574562
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling crime writer Laurie R. King writes both series and standalone novels. For a complete list of her books in order, please visit http://www.laurierking.com/books/complete-book-list

In the Mary Russell series (first entry: The Beekeeper's Apprentice), fifteen-year-old Russell meets Sherlock Holmes on the Sussex Downs in 1915, becoming his apprentice, then his partner. The series follows their amiably contentious partnership into the 1920s as they challenge each other to ever greater feats of detection. For a complete list of the Mary Russell books in order, click here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B00CJLA42C/kindle/ref=sr_bookseries_null_B00CJLA42C.

The Kate Martinelli series, starting with A Grave Talent, concerns a San Francisco homicide inspector, her SFPD partner, and her life partner. In the course of the series, Kate encounters a female Rembrandt, a modern-day Holy Fool, two difficult teenagers, a manifestation of the goddess Kali and an eighty-year-old manuscript concerning Sherlock Holmes.

The Stuyvesant and Gray books feature Harris Stuyvesant, a Bureau of Investigation agent who finds himself far out of his depth, first in England during the 1926 General Strike (Touchstone), then in Paris during the sweltering confusion of September, 1929 (The Bones of Paris).

King also has written stand-alone novels--A Darker Place as well as two loosely linked novels, Folly and Keeping Watch--and a science fiction novel, Califia's Daughters, under the pseudonym Leigh Richards.

King grew up reading her way through libraries like a termite through balsa before going on to become a mother, builder, world traveler, and theologian.

She has now settled into a genteel life of crime, back in her native northern California. She has a secondary residence in cyberspace, where she enjoys meeting readers in her Virtual Book Club and on her blog.

King has won the Edgar and Creasey awards (for A Grave Talent), the Nero (for A Monstrous Regiment of Women) and the MacCavity (for Folly); her nominations include the Agatha, the Orange, the Barry, and two more Edgars. She was also given an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Check out King's website, http://laurierking.com/, and follow the links to her blog and Virtual Book Club, featuring monthly discussions of her work, with regular visits from the author herself. And for regular LRK updates, follow the link to sign up for her email newsletter.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Second in terms of release date but third in terms of the timeline (O Jerusalem should actually be read second, its story taking place right before the end of The Beekeeper's Apprentice when Mary is 19), A Monstrous Regiment of Women finds the brilliant Mary Russell approaching her 21st birthday, questioning the nature of her relationship with Sherlock Holmes.

In an effort to distance herself from him a bit, Mary renews an Oxford friendship and finds herself drawn to the charismatic leader of a feminist church/society movement, intellectually and spiritually. A series of deaths attached to the society sends Mary and by proxy, Holmes himself into the investigation.

As with the first book (and the following books), Regiment is primarily about Mary. Finally at an age where she inherits her parents vast estate, she struggles with her newfound freedom, the burden of responsibility and starts to look at parts of herself and Holmes that she'd been able to avoid when she was a girl. Mary is exposed to the seamiest sides of London as she tries to balance depending on Holmes with wanting to do things her own way.

A lot has been made of the romance between Mary and Holmes - something the author could have avoided entirely if she'd have just not mentioned Mary's age. She's written as far, far older than her calendar years; it also wasn't that uncommon around the turn of the century to find a young woman married off to a much older man. I'm not a Sherlock Holmes purist, which enables more suspension of logic, but the romance is still sparingly written and is actually kind of sweet.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this sequel to THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE, Laurie King gives us the now mature Mary Russell, claiming her inheritance and becoming involved in the investigation of a charitable organization run by an extremely charismatic woman, whose wealthy members seemed to be dying and leaving their inheritance to said organization. Mary works undercover and with her newly found wealth makes herself a target, with serious consequences. King creates a real sense of menace in this installment and Russell's peril is strongly rendered and will make the reader feel true compassion for her.

Holmes's presence is felt throughout the novel, and King does a fine job of staying true to this character, fleshing out some of his personality while never forgetting that he is the "world's greatest detective." The eventual match of Russell and Holmes may put some traditionalists out of sorts, but I find it a way to breathe new vitality into this legendary character, and in Mary Russell, King has developed a fine and equal partner for the detective.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In reading several other opinions of this book, it seems that for "traditionalists" the romance in this story might be off putting. I, however, a mystery and romance fan, found this to be one of the most compellingly romantic stories I have ever read. While at its heart it's a suspensful mystery with wonderful action sequences, I found that the on going dynamic between Russell and Holmes added depth of character in a way that most cozy mysteries often overlook. Age meant nothing, Mary's confusion was sincere and Holmes has now become a great romantic hero. Well done.
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Format: Hardcover
I had heard mixed reviews of A Monstrous Regiment of Women before I read it, directly after its prequel, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I didn't think I would enjoy it nearly as much as the first one--I was wrong. For fans of Mary Russell, this is surely a book to be enjoyed. I read the Holmes/Russell novel for Sherlock Holmes, however. Though he isn't in the book much at this time, the scenes he -is- in are absolutely charming and unforgettable. Many people don't enjoy Holmes in this book--To them he doesn't seem to be the Holmes of Watson. Naturally, he isn't. He's seen from an entirely different perspective in Russell's narration, he's allowing Russell to take the case on her own, rather than stepping in and doing the work for her--And he finally has a woman astute and edgy enough for him to realize that women aren't always something to scoff at. This woman happens to be Mary Russell, thirty-nine years his junior with an intelligence, arrogance, and attitude remniscent of Holmes himself. Mary Russell is, indeed, Holmes as a young woman--including her own weakness to opium derivatives.
I'm not a fan of mystery novels as it is, so I found the character work in the King novels fascinating. Russell's narrative focuses on the people involved, and personal matters, rather than just the case. You get a sense of who people are and why they're involved, not who did it in the where with the what. In order to grasp all of this development, you MUST read The Beekeeper's Apprentice before this book.
A Monstrous Regiment of Women contains some of the best scenes in all of the Holmes/Russell series--Short passages between Holmes and Russell will jump out from the page. You can hear them in your mind and the characters will suddenly become real. Anyone who followed Holmes and Russell through the first six years will find true delight in reading this book.
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