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The Game: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Mary Russell Novels) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 174 customer reviews
Book 7 of 13 in the Mary Russell Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The seventh Mary Russell adventure (after 2002's Justice Hall) may well be the best King has yet devised for her strong-willed heroine. It's 1924, and Kimball O'Hara, the "Kim" of the famous Rudyard Kipling novel, has disappeared. Fearing some kind of geopolitical crisis in the making, Mycroft Holmes sends his brother and Mary to India to uncover what happened. En route, they encounter the insufferable Tom Goodheart—a wealthy young American who has embraced Communism—traveling with his mother and sister to visit his maharaja friend, Jumalpandra ("Jimmy"), an impossibly rich and charming ruler of the (fictional) Indian state of Khanpur. With some local intelligence supplied by Geoffrey Nesbit, an Englishman of the old school, and accompanied by Bindra, a resourceful orphan, the couple travel incognito as native magicians (Mary, it goes without saying, learns Hindi on the voyage out). Ultimately, their journey intersects with the paths of the Goodhearts and the mysterious Jimmy. At times, travelogue and cultural history trump plot, but the sights, smells and ideas of India make interesting, evocative reading (Mary's foray into the dangerous sport of pig-sticking is particularly fascinating). If for some Mary Russell is too perfect a character to be as enduringly compelling as Holmes, all readers will appreciate the grace and intelligence of King's writing in this exotic masala of a book.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Once apprentice, now investigator, Mary Russell travels to India in 1925 with her former mentor, now husband, Sherlock Holmes. In this seventh adventure, the duo is searching for Kimball O'Hara, the Kim of Rudyard Kipling's eponymous novel. On a mission from Sherlock's brother Mycroft, long involved in British espionage, they are tasked with finding Kim or evidence of his status as victim or traitor. Sailing to India on a luxury liner, they meet an American family with a debutante daughter, a social-climbing mother, and a left-leaning son, who of course reappear at a strategic moment. Upon their arrival, Mary and Sherlock disguise themselves as native traveling magicians and seek out an anti-English and very sadistic maharaja, "Jimmy." With her usual thorough research, King imbues the mystery with lots of historical detail and a real sense of time and place. This is one of the best in the series and can easily be read on its own, though readers will then want to go back and see how the strange, but surprisingly plausible, meeting and union between a young Mary and a considerably older Holmes actually occurs. Likewise, a previous reading of Kim is unnecessary, but teens will likely be intrigued enough to go on to read that as well. A sure bet for mystery lovers and historical fiction fans.–Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Mary Russell Novels
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553583387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553583380
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Laurie R King's series of Sherlock Holmes adventures in which the great detective is joined by his parter (now wife) Mary Russell have seen the two lead characters travel to various locations, most notably Palestine. "The Game" continues this exoticism, placing the adventure in British India - quite possibly in what is now Pakistan, although King tactfully avoids actually locating the fictional Khanpur on a map.

"The Game" is an example of that interesting sort of novel in which other authors' characters turn up - in this case, Conan Doyle's Holmes is joined by Rudyard Kipling's Kim. That is to say, Holmes and Russell are sent to India to find Kim and his spirit definitely pervades their adventures.

I use "adventures" advisedly, since King tends to avoid the traditional Holmes setup of having the detective lounging in Baker Street and identifying the villain by the unusual paint marks on his hatband. Here, Holmes' skills run to Morse code and relative fluency in Hindi, but none of the deductive powers he is normally associated with. To be fair, the traditional Holmesian deductions are one of the more difficult literary tricks to pull off, and were King to try them too often she would be accused variously of writing pastiches of the real Holmes or (worse) of getting the deductions wrong in the first place.

King's strengths lie in the construction of an interesting adventure story, and "The Game" does not disappoint on this level. Holmes and Russell adventure through Aden briefly, before taking in Delhi and much of rural India en route to Khanpur. The princely state itself is an unusual creation, although it is quite possible to imagine a bored maharajah treating his ancestral home like the giant country house this one turns into.
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Format: Hardcover
As is often the case, Mycroft Holmes, who is ill and abed, turns to his detective brother to do what the entire British Secret Service cannot, track down Kimball O'Hara, who has disappeared into India. Of course, Kimball, who is the original for Rudyard Kipling's Kim, has always been disappeared into India. He has been a British agent, worked for the betterment of his adopted country of India, and been something of a mystic. He is often missing, but this time Mycroft is convinced that there has been foul play.
Holmes is selected because he spent time in India during his own great disappearance, has met O'Hara, and, I suspect, because his wife is Mary Russell. Mary is every bit Holmes equal, and in some ways his better. First as a team, and then separately, they adventure to Northern India and the Principality of Khanpur, where they must face corruption, insanity, and sedition in an adventure that becomes quite a bit more than a rescue mission.
King does her usual best to mix plenty of fact into her fiction, so that 'The Game' becomes a travelogue and a sociological record in addition to an adventure. There is less deduction in this novel than in some of her other Russell/Holmes stories. Due mostly to the fact that the clues always lead in one direction and the real excitement becomes the tricks, feats, and disguises that enable the team to survive and conquer. King also excels at developing a supporting cast, and as one might expect from a book set in India, that cast is almost numberless.
My only real criticism is that the story is very slow paced. Indeed, it is timed more like a travel diary than an adventure novel.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary Russell, the much younger, part jewish and equal on all terms, wife of Sherlock Holmes is on another exciting case. This one takes them to India via cruise ship in search of Kimball O'Hara, the now grown up Kim of Kipling fame. On the way, the meet a suspicious American, with mother and sister in tow; a precocious youth who joins them in their quest and an Indian Price who is more than meets the eye.
The games afoot!
I love these books for their adventure, the history and the characters. Ms. King remains as true to the original Holmes as I would ever want and creates new stories with the fabulous character of Mary Russell.
If you are new to this series, I'd start at the beginning with The Bee Keeper's Apprentice. If not, I would get this book as quickly as possible.
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Format: Hardcover
I crave Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes stories. The latest installment of the series does not dissapoint. Laurie R. King has continued to grow her characters without losing any of their charm from "The Beekeeper's Apprentice."
I would certainly say that the books need to be read in their correct order. And, this new book is toeing the line (along with "A Monstrous Regiment of Women") as one of my favourite in the series.
The locations are wonderful--we meet delightful new characters, and the mystery is wonderfully complicated, per usual.
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Format: Hardcover
The entire Holmes/Russell series is just incredibly wonderful, and I enjoyed this book very much. The history involved in every book is fascinating, and this installment is no exception.
That said, I do think this book had a little bit too much "action/adventure" for my tastes. Especially toward the end, I found I was spending a lot of time just trying to imagine the mechanics of all the riding, running, pig sticking, and jousting that was going on. And their escapes from these tricky situations rely just a bit too much on coincidence, luck, and deus ex machina.
However, I really enjoyed the way this book touched, ever so gently, a bit more on the love, the passionate love, between Holmes and Russell. A hint of tender hair-brushing foreplay, strong embraces....these have been missing from previous books. It wouldn't fit the style of the series to elaborate any further on their relationship, but these mere suggestions of romantic lover were quite satisfying. :-)
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