A trail of ominous clues comprise a mystery that leads from an English hamlet to the city of Paris to the wild prairie of the New World. The trap is set, the game is afoot; but can Holmes and Russell catch an elusive killer, or has the murderer caught them?
© 2002 Laurie R. King; (P) 2003 Recorded Books
"A spellbinding mystery...superb." (The Washington Post)
"Consistently smart and poignant...[Conan Doyle] would probably approve." (Chicago Tribune)
"Audacious...Mary Russell is never less than fascinating company." (Los Angeles Times)
This is my favorite detective series; the writing is superb and the narrator is perfect. This is currently the only one available on Audible, however, and although the book can stand on its own as a complete story, it is a richer experience to listen to them in chronological order. Assuming Audible will make the rest of the series available soon, the order is: Beekeeper's Apprentice, O Jerusalem, Monstrous Regiment of Women, A Book of Mary, The Moor, and Justice Hall last. (This is not the order in which they were written, but the order in which they take place.)
I enjoy King's extension of the Holmes story very much. This happens to be one of my favorites of the series, revisiting as it does two characters I loved from an earlier novel, Ali and Mahmoud. Other reviewers complain that the book is uneventful, though perhaps they are misremembering Holmes stories as proceeding like James Bond novels. King doesn't rush the story's progression, certainly, but most readers will enjoy the slow building of tension and the sudden revelation of relationships, motives, and crime. The excerpts from the diary of a young soldier are fascinating. As for one reviewer's dismissal of the story as "unbelievable" because two Englishmen pass as Arabs, I wonder why they would bother with a spy/detective novel at all. Besides, there are plenty of people in the world who speak more than one language fluently, and who are at home in more than one culture.
My only quibble with this otherwise excellent performance was the narrator's rendition of a Canadian accent. One character in the novel is supposed to be from Toronto, but sounded like a speaker from Tennessee trying to imitate the speech of Manhattan.
I'm a fan of the series, but this book was a disappointment.
It's too long.
It's poorly edited. A central character's army rank wobbles throughout between 2nd lieutenant (correct) and sublieutenant (wrong).
The charm of the series is the tension of the relationship between Russell and Holmes, and on this case they spend little time together.
The plot is weak. Russell achieves her two breakthroughs by having the author hand them to her on a plate (chance personal encounters, stumbling over evidence in a chest) instead of working them out.
Worse still, a crucial plot point hangs on a factual inaccuracy, which I can't reveal without spoiling the story.
The narrator does her best with the longueurs. Other reviews say she isn't much help, but it's hard to see what else she could have done.
I first read this book without having read the first 5, so I thought it was well done, but perhaps not great. However, after reading this as part of the series - I find this book to be fantastic! And the characters are amazing! Read the whole series, if you can - so it will make more sense. Audible is missing 2 of the series, currently, and they are well worth a trip to the bookstore! Great book!
This is one of the best audio books I've listened to. A wonderful reader; deft, understated, but dramatic, with both male and female voices sounding just right. The story itself is a wonderfully intricate tale, with powerful images and compelling characters. I'm saving this one to listen to again!
Excellently written, excellently read. Darker, perhaps, than others of the Mary Russell stories (why doesn't Audible have more Laurie King?).
Like all the books in this series, this is more story, characters, and thriller than deduction. I enjoyed this story and these characters the most of all in the series yet.
This was a wonderful listen! I keep waiting for audible to bring us the rest of the series. If you liked this, try listening to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Suzannah Clarke.
I've always prided myself that I am not addicted to anything but I am definitely addicted to the Holmes and Russel adventures. I have now listened to six of these books and am dreading the day that the series runs out. I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan since childhood and I was wary of a new author trying to capture that enigmatic character but Laurie King does it brilliantly.
Her writing is elegant and precise with enough detail to make the characters real and make the reader (or listener) really care about them but not so much that the plot gets bogged down. I was also wary of a female reader bringing Holmes to life (I had no doubt she could do Mary Russell) but I will now listen to ANYTHING read by Jenny Sterlin.
Listening to these adventures is a thoroughly enjoyable experience with the ability to transport the reader to a British Manor House (as in this one), to the Sussex countryside, to the lonely windswept moors or to Jerusalem - my favourite experience so far.
In my experience an enjoyable adventure must have more than just a strong plot. All the characters - not just the principal players - must be fully drawn and credible and the localities must transport the reader. Laurie King, togeter with Jenny Sterlin, succeed in all of these and more.
there is so much in this book : the impact of WWI, the strong and interesting female characters, the interplay of cultures, the characters of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, and the plot! I love Mary Russell for her clear headed intelligence and understanding. I'm just not ready to say goodbye - I'll have to listen to the next in the series. Jenny Sterlin is perfect as the narrator.
"Another triumphant entry in this wonderful series"
The sheer chutzpah of Laurie R King's original conceit is breathtaking: an ageing Sherlock Holmes finds his soulmate when he literally stumbles across Mary Russell, a teenaged Anglo-American-Jewish orphan. Gauche, intellectual, ferociously brave and haunted by guilt, Russell becomes first Holmes's pupil-in-detection, then an almost equal partner - and his wife. Their cases take them to places as far apart as Rudyard Kipling's India and Conan Doyle's Dartmoor; 1918 Palestine and Dashiell Hammet's California. Justice Hall is a story of betrayal and tragedy rooted in the brutality of the trenches of World War One; it manages to be both sombre and hugely entertaining, and narrator Jenny Sterlin confirms her place as the incomparable voice of both Mary Russell and Holmes himself.
"Love the book, loath the voice"
Well, that about says it, really. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of King's Mary Russell books - the characters are so well developed, they extend as flesh and blood beyond the text, with no sudden incongruous or anachronistic changes in their personalities. The plots twist and turn pleasingly. The language is evocative, the narration erudite, the attention to historic detail meticulous and lovingly drawn. So WHO decided to cast this narrator? The light, decriptive moments are delivered as if they're the most gothic and overwrought passages in Wuthering Heights, read by a hammy Cathy herself. The emphasis is ON all THE wrong words IN a sentence. And King's gorgeous Sherlock Holmes is made to sound like a constipated buffalo, for some unidentifiable reason speaking at half the speed of normal speech. If you can overlook these annoyences, with the redeeming quality of the novel this is still an excellent purchase, but you are likely to find yourself paraphrasing out loud how it should sound!
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