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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Laurie R. King captivates audiences with her irresistibly suspenseful novels. She has also won tremendous critical acclaim, earning Edgar, Creasey, Nero, and Macavity awards for her work. The Art of Detection is another spellbinding tale starring San Francisco homicide inspector Kate Martinelli. The victim is Sherlock Holmes aficionado Philip Gilbert, whose collection of priceless memorabilia is definitely worth killing for. It's up to Kate and her trusted partner Al Hawkin to follow the clues and bring a rather peculiar murderer to Justice.
©2006 Laurie R. King; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"A tour de force and a great read." (Booklist)
"A fine, perceptive storyteller, King is particularly adroit at capturing the milieus in which her characters reside." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 12-16-13

A story within a story

This is the last Martinelli book of the series and was written six years after the fourth book in the series “Night work”. The book is set in modern day San Francisco and Kate Martinelli is a homicide Inspector with the SFPD. She is called to former gun emplacement on an old military base turn into a State Park in the Marin highlands where a man’s body has been found. As the man lived in San Francisco and it was obvious the body was just dumped at the site both the Marin PD and the park rangers turned the case over to San Francisco. The man turned out to be Philip Gilbert a Holmes expert/fanatic whose home turned out to be a replica of 221 Baker Street. Gilbert was a collector of Holmes era items and was hoping to turn the place into a museum. As Kate investigates she finds that Gilbert has discovered a manuscript written in 1924 found in a San Francisco house being remodeled along with an old Underwood typewriter of the same era. Gilbert thinks it is a Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle written when he was visiting San Francisco in 1924. Kate wonder’s if this might be the reason Gilbert was murdered. In the middle of the story Kate takes time out to read the manuscript, and here is where I think the audio book format worked great, as Robert Ian Mackenzie read the manuscript. It felt like I was getting two mysteries in one book. As the book went along from this point Kate and I had to remember which was the real murder case. With a Sherlock Holmes mystery built into the story of course, King put in red herrings, and lots of Holmes trivia as Kate interviewed the Holmes society members that Gilbert belong to and also some of them were also 221 B members. At the end King brings both murders to a successful solution. I like this series because King provides such great descriptions of San Francisco and modern police procedure and the location helps make real some unusual stories and character in this series. Alyssa Bresnahan and Robert Ian Mackenzie do a great job narrating the story. I do hope that King will continue this series sometime in the future.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Solid

This murder mystery brings the reader (listener, I guess) into the world of modern day Sherlockians, devotees of Sherlock Holmes, involving the murder of a leader of a Sherlockian cell. This aspect of the story provides much of the interest, in this otherwise "San Fransiscan policewoman detective solves the case" story. Well worth a listen

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Breeonne
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 08-14-09

Great narration

I enjoyed this story, incorporating Laurie R. King's two series in a plausible way and yet not letting the Holmes aspect take over Martinelli's tale. The characters are well composed, with as much attention on the supporting cast as with the main characters.

The use of the two narrators to follow what are essentially two separate stories seemed a bit odd at first, but it made sense after the first few minutes (an audiobook within an audiobook, as it were). Alyssa Bresnahan's narration won me over from the start - she injects a dash of wry humour into her reading that gives life to the story. A highly enjoyable and intelligent story to listen to.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

good to have a new Kate Martinelli book

This is an excellent light read--possibly better read to oneself than listened to as the readers are just adequate. It's a nice mix of Sherlockiana and the contemporary. Not one of Laurie King's very best novels, but *anything* by this author is worth reading.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Sammamish, WA, USA
  • 06-20-06

Didn't like it

My girlfriend and I listened to this last week and found it pretty boring. It felt like way too much time was spent on ultra-detailed description vs. plot development. I wouldn't recommend it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wonderful find

This is the first Laurie King novel that I've read and it certainly won't be the last. And thank the goddess for the "pro-gay agenda" presented here. It was a refreshingly inclusive book. The story within a story aspect was quite well done. I am looking forward to reading more of her novels. Her characterization, humor and insight make the novel interesting and very believable. The mystery holds out until the very end unlike many current mystery novels.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elizabeth
  • BirminghamUnited Kingdom
  • 02-15-08

Great narrator!

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook, so much that I was sorry when it was over. I've read and listened to other books by Laurie King and knew I would enjoy it, but this one really stood out for me. Much of that was due to the narrator, who made the book come alive. The people in it stayed with me long after I finished listening.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Didn't Like It

My husband and I took this on a road trip and were never so happy to get home. Too many small uninteresting and unneeded details, not enough clues to make you feel part of the book. When you're reading, you can slide over those, but when you're listening, it seems interminable.

Beyond that, I think Laurie King dislikes Kate Martinelli's lesbian partner, Lee. I've read several books starring this detective, and find her partner to be shrewish and demanding. I've never known an author to be so hard on a recurring character. I think this may be the end of "Kate Martinelli" mysteries for me.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Brian
  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • 10-01-08

Two stories weighted down by an agenda

I was intrigued by the idea of a story within a story, but quickly got bogged down in what is really three stories: two detective pieces and a pedantic homage to gay San Francisco. It's hard to believe that this clunker was written by the same author as the Mary Russell novels. Kate Martinelli is no Milo Sturgis, and Laurie King doesn't come close to Jonathan Kellerman in creating believable and symapthetic characters- gay or straight- in a contemporary story. It's too bad because the concept of exploring the world of fanatical Sherlock Holmes devotees through the mystery of a "missing" Conan Doyle manuscript had lots of potential. As it turned out, this book is a waste of time.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Story within a Story

An inventive device of a story within a story defines "The Art of Detection". Enjoyable characters and a good narration make for a very entertaining murder mystery.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbara
  • 05-13-07

I've just discovered Laurie R King

This was my first Laurie R King/Kate Martinelli novel and I'm hooked, so come on Audible, get recording, I want more of this! Kate Martinelli is a determined but humane female detective who does not need to mix it with the boys to prove she is as good as they are. Perhaps this is why her being a lesbian is so fitting to her character, she is comfortable in her sexuality and doesn't need to compete with her male colleagues to prove she's one of them. And the serene life she lives with partner Lee helps give balance to her dramatic and often dangerous working life. Kate is a character you can believe in and have respect for. The plot was a puzzle from start to finish and I loved the inclusion of the Sherlock Holmes story, even if it wasn't very true to the style. The language was sometimes repetitive but with such a good story I can forgive that. I highly recommend this book if you like to be kept on the edge of your seat and up until the early hours to find out what happens on the next page.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Smask
  • 01-29-10

Superb

This was a surprise discovery as I had never read anything by this author. The reader is superb, one of the best with a great grasp of pace and understanding of the story. This was a true pleasure to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • 3_piets
  • 01-07-17

Good

But I prefer the more innocent Sherlock stories. Maybe I'm just old fashioned. Thanks for an interesting read.