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The Murder of Mary Russell: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 5, 2016
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Praise for The Murder of Mary Russell
“Leaping narrative energy has always been a hallmark of this series, and it reaches something of a peak in this latest volume. . . . The lean momentum of the story never falters. . . . It’s a stunning prolonged feat of storytelling, and it succeeds in making The Murder of Mary Russell the best installment so far in an excellent series.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“[A] sharp, inventive and rewarding series.”—The Seattle Times
“Delightful . . . a triumph of plotting . . . Fans, always hungry to know more personal details about [Laurie R.] King’s iteration of Sherlock Holmes and his world, will get a few more delicious tidbits this time around.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Not only a high point in King’s long-running series, but a compelling demonstration of the ways inventive writers can continue to breathe new life into the Holmes-ian mythology . . . Both Holmes and Russell will have a chance to shine; in fact, the case achieves a rare balance between Holmes, Russell, and the mystery they’ve been set.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Whip-smart, suspenseful and intricately plotted, The Murder of Mary Russell shines a brilliant light on an often overlooked aspect of the Sherlock Holmes universe.”—Shelf Awareness
“A tantalizing tale of deception and misdirection for [Laurie R. King’s] readers’ delight.”—LibraryReads (Top Ten Pick)
Praise for the award-winning novels of Laurie R. King
“The great marvel of King’s series is that she’s managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes’s character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart.”—The Washington Post Book World
“The most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”—Lee Child
“A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company.”—The New York Times
“Erudite, fascinating . . . by all odds the most successful re-creation of the famous inhabitant of 221B Baker Street ever attempted.”—Houston Chronicle
“Intricate clockworks, wheels within wheels.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Imaginative and subtle.”—The Seattle Times
“Impossible to put down.”—Romantic Times
“Remarkably beguiling.”—The Boston Globe
About the Author
Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, the Stuyvesant & Grey novels Touchstone and The Bones of Paris, and the acclaimed A Darker Place, Folly, Califia’s Daughters (written under the pen name Leigh Richards), and Keeping Watch. She lives in Northern California.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story starts with Holmes away, Mrs. Hudson on an errand, and Mary working alone in her garden. She hears a car drive up, and a man identifying himself as Mrs. Hudson's long-lost son, Samuel, greets her. When Mrs. Hudson returns, she finds a still-warm teapot on the stove, pools of blood on the sitting room floor, and no sign of Mary. What happened?
The story jumps back and forth between that story line -- whose blood was it, anyway? -- and the life history of Clara (Clarissa in her younger years) Hudson. To go into much of the story would give away the plot, and I don't want to do that. Suffice it to say that the respectable matron had quite a different life in her younger days! Holmes isn't really involved until the latter half of the book, as he investigates what happened to his wife. Is she dead?
King's recent Holmes/Russell books have had the couple working apart more than together, and this one is no exception. While I prefer the couple to work together, I didn't mind their separation as much with this book as I did with the others because the story of Mrs. Hudson is fascinating. It takes the reader back to the mid- to late 1800s in both Australia and London.
This is a worthy addition to King's long series about Holmes and Russell. While it can be read as a stand-alone book, I urge readers to start with the first book, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, where Holmes and Russell meet, and move forward through the series for a richer experience.
I also watch the Holmes variations on TV (there are several), and love them all. I'm flexible in my Holmes-canon. So I was all set to gobble up a mystery about murdering Mary Russell.
This is a good book, but it is not what the title suggests to fans of the Mary Russell series. The opening chapter is the standard murder mystery opening leading to the murder.
The story cuts away at the end of Chapter One to Mrs. Hudson's point of view as she discovers evidence of what has happened, and what we "see" through Hudson's eyes sets us up to make certain assumptions about what really happened after we cut away.
Because this is a Holmes series, we expect that what is implied by the visual evidence is not what actually happened, and we turn the page to find out how Holmes will discover what actually happened and how he'll deal with his feelings about the visual evidence, and what he'll do as a consequence of what he deduces really happened.
That is not the book that the author delivers.
What we get instead is a fine novel starting in 1925, intricately re-imagined and extrapolated from some peripheral Doyle stories, as explained in the afterword. It is an excellent job of Holmes scholarship, and a perfectly crafted piece of fiction -- but it is not a typical Holmes detective story.
Instead, we get anecdotes about Mrs. Hudson's parents and siblings from the mid-1800's, the ancestry of a fellow who turns up in Chapter One, anecdote about how they all met, how certain children came to be born, the fates of their parents, and how they ended up in Australia, and how one comes to Mary Russell's front door in Chapter One.
It's all historically accurate, meticulously expounded, and perfectly fitting to the Holmes we later meet. Like all good Origin Stories, it explains a lot. Holmes's younger self, and the forces that shaped his personality are included, embedded in the origin of his friends we've come to know and love.
But taken as a whole, this is not a murder-mystery-detective-novel, where Holmes runs circles around the police and solves the mystery with an astounding revelation all based on some contribution from Mary Russell.
If you like Holmes and love Historical Novels, you'll love this. In fact, you may offer it as a gift to friends to introduce them to what you love about the Laurie R. King approach to Holmes. But it is not going to scratch the itch for more Consulting Detective adventures.
The moment Holmes comes on the scene, I feel the narrative 'wake up' , and I found the use of the 'Case of the Gloria Scott' well done. But I was not very much goaded into dread or suspense by the appearance of Samuel Hudson and his confrontation with Mary, and thier much-interrupted and obfuscated confrontation.
The final unwinding of the plot frankly was frankly confusing and irritating. No, I did not find this story equalled any of the other Russell narratives up to and including The Great Game one that brings Kimball Ohara back to vivid life. That was the last one I found truly thrilling.
I think King has run this thread out beyond its end. I'm tired of it.