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O Jerusalem (Mary Russell Novels) Mass Market Paperback – June 6, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Mary Russell Novels
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (June 6, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553581058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553581058
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Although O Jerusalem is Laurie King's fifth book in her Holmes-Russell series, it actually takes us back to the era of her first book, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. Perhaps King was afraid that her characters, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, were becoming too cozy as an old married couple, and she wanted to recreate the edgy sexual tension of their first encounter.

It's 1918. Nineteen-year-old Mary and her fiftysomething mentor are forced to flee England to escape a deadly adversary. Sherlock's well-connected brother Mycroft sends them to Palestine to do some international sleuthing. Here, a series of murders threatens the fragile peace.

Laurie King connects us, through details of language, custom, history, and sensual impressions, to this very alien environment. Russell, Holmes, and two marvelously imagined Arab guides named Mahmoud and Ali trek through the desert and visit ancient monasteries clinging like anthills to cliffs. They also find time to take tea with the British military legend Allenby in Haifa and skulk through or under the streets of Jerusalem. King puts us into each scene so quickly and completely that her narrative flow never falters.

Stepping back in time also gives King a chance to show us Holmes through the eyes of a Russell not yet as full of love as a honeymooner, nor as complacent as a comfortable wife. "There it was--sardonic, superior, infuriating," Mary says about Holmes's voice at one point.

Wisdom is knowing when, and how much, to shake things up--even in a successful series. Laurie King is a wise woman indeed. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

O Jerusalem marks the fifth appearance of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (The Moor, LJ 12/97). This time around they have fled to Palestine on a mission for Mycroft Holmes. Disguised as itinerant Muslims and paired with two Arab spies, Russell and Holmes travel through the Holy Land trying to figure out exactly why Mycroft has sent them. A pair of seemingly unrelated murders sets them on the track of a brilliant and power-hungry killer. Only Holmes and Russell (along with some unexpected allies) can stop their adversary from destroying JerusalemAif they can get to him in time. King's clear prose and her vivid depiction of a British-occupied Palestine torn between opposing cultures are the book's main strengths. A bit slow at the start, the action gradually builds to a satisfying and dramatic conclusion. Strongly recommended for all public libraries.
-ALaurel Bliss, New Haven, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling crime writer Laurie R. King writes both series and standalone novels.

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.

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.

King also has written stand-alone novels--the historical thriller Touchstone, A Darker Place, 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

It is beautifully written with wonderful character development and an exciting story line.
SussexBee@aol.com
You don't, however, need to have read the other books in the series; in fact, I've found myself wondering if I'd have liked this one even better if I'd read it second.
Esther Schindler
The fifth book In Laurie King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series is, in my opinion, the best since the initial book.
R. BULL

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
When I first discovered that the latest adventure of Holmes and Russell wasn't in chronological order with Kings' previous novels in the series, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it. That thought didn't last long. Kings' latest is, in my opinion, her best. . She always writes well, but she out did herself with this latest edition to this very enjoyable series.
This is a story rich with history, imagery and wonderful characters you really care about. Set in the Holy Land, the historical references meld neatly with Holmes' and Russell's present. Ancient history and post-WWI history is anything but dull as King paints a picture both realistic and captivating.
Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell are, as always, strong characters, but the other central characters are well rounded and real as well. I came to care about them and hated to come to the end of this novel. I hope that we'll meet up with Ali and Mahmoud, the odd detecting duos reluctant cohorts, again soon.
If you're uncertain about whether or not to buy this novel, don't be. Buy it now and feel the heat of the ancient desert between your toes. :o)
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Brandon K. on March 17, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had the luxury of reading this book second, where it naturally fits timewise in the series, and I could not find the lack of plot and cold narration that other readers noticed. In fact, to me, this book is as good or BETTER than Beekeeper's Apprentice, simply due to the very details that some said would better fit in a travel guide. The way to snare a reader is to make them feel they are really there. I could almost feel the sand between my teeth and smell the smoke from the campfires. I'm sorry, but I love that kind of detail. Why read if all you want is taut dialogue? Might as well listen to the radio or something . . . Give me the descriptions anytime. All in all, I have found King to be a lovely read, and all too often, I find that I have over-stayed my time on lunch breaks because I've detoured through the Holy Land with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By JulieS on June 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read most of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books, and was excited to see this one in paperback, but found it a less enjoyable read than her previous books (especially Beekeeper's Apprentice). It's tone and plot were a bit of a departure from the usual, which might be related to the "exotic" setting and, as another reviewer said, it's not really that much of a mystery. I felt like the book was loaded down with a lot of action that made it less interesting to me, because it was hard to figure out what the story was going towards, and hard to figure out what exactly was going on. One of the things I did find interesting was the beginnings of the romance between Holmes & Russell. I would say this book was well-written and evocative, but if you are looking for a page-turning mystery, this is not the book for you.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Laurie King has swiftly become one of my favorite authors -- the sort who make you grab any book with their name on the cover, without even reading what it's "about." She's an extremely powerful writer who puts you into the middle of the story/world she's writing about, and your "real life" goes away.

If you've found your way to this page, it's likely that you've read at least one of the books in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. If not, I strongly urge you to start with the first book, the Beekeeper's Apprentice. This story takes place chronologically in the middle of that book (with an arm wave to "after our adventures in Palestine" in the first novel), and I believe you really do need to have that foundation to get the most out of O Jerusalem. You don't, however, need to have read the other books in the series; in fact, I've found myself wondering if I'd have liked this one even better if I'd read it second.

What King does very well, here, is present a mystery story against a backdrop of history which most of us (including me) know only vaguely. During the action of O Jerusalem, the British have recently gotten control over the area, and we see the tensions and cultural clashes between Arab, Jew, Turk, British, and anybody else passing through. By the end, and without the pain of a history lesson, I'd learned a lot more about early 20th century problems and gotten a clue about how they affect us today.

Other reviewers have criticized King for creating a pre-feminist Mary Russell who magically raises the consciousness of the Arab men around her. P'shaw.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on May 20, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Laurie King has written a number of these books now, with the main character a young girl who shows Sherlock Holmes how a woman can be just as effective as a man in a whole list of different ways. This is of course a very modern idea, and it's doubtful that the real Sherlock Holmes, written by the real Conan Doyle, would have espoused this view, but we give her the benefit of the doubt because the premise is fun.
Here, though, the premise isn't that fun. For mysterious reasons (apparently regarding the end of The Beekeeper's Apprentice, which I don't remember very well) Holmes and his young friend Mary Russell are thrown ashore in Palestine ca. 1919, courtesy of Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft. They immediately hook up with a couple of mysterious local Arabs, who guide them about the country aimlessly, after making clear how useless they think Holmes and Russell are. It takes several hundred pages before things actually get going.
The difficulty is that this really isn't a detective novel: instead, it's a spy novel, and a slow-moving one at that. It's 300 pages or so before the plot actually takes shape and we know what Holmes and Russell are looking for. It's slow and not very suspenseful, and it takes so long to get going that by the time it does, we don't care what's going on. I have to confess that while some of the characters were interesting, the plot was so moribund that I wasn't that impressed. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone other than Holmes fanatics.
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