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?).
After The Beekeeper's Apprentice I was hooked and wanted more. Just be advised that there are other books in between Beekeeper and Justice Hall, and some important things happen that you may wish you'd found out in the "correct" order. The reader does a great job of capturing the different personalities - so good in fact that I went right to Locked Rooms after finishing JH. What great characters Ms. King has both created and made to live on. I think these books would make such fun movies (Liam Neson as Holmes and Kiera Knightly as Russell - that's who my mind conjures up). Enjoy!
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.
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.
I loved other books by this author, but with regard to this book, the combination of a very slow reader who emphasized what seemed like every other word, and the detail into which the author went regarding the life and times of the setting, just made for a long read.
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