Thursday, February 11, 2010

6-14 Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes Mysteries

Laurie King
Rated (see Below
From Library

In preparation for the new book coming out in April, The God of the Hive, and also because it required little to no concentration I spent most of this month listening/dozing through these. I am so grateful for my wonderful library system for having all of these in unabridged audio format.

6. The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994) 5 stars
Sherlock Holmes takes on a young, female apprentice in this delightful and well-wrought addition to the master detective's casework. In the early years of WW I, 15-year-old American Mary Russell encounters Holmes, retired in Sussex Downs where Conan Doyle left him raising bees. Mary, an orphan rebelling against her guardian aunt's strictures, impresses the sleuth with her intelligence and acumen. Holmes initiates her into the mysteries of detection, allowing her to participate in a few cases when she comes home from her studies at Oxford.

7. A Monstrous Regiment of Women (1995) 4.5 stars

Mary Russell's adventures as a student of the famous detective continue. A series of murders claims members of a strange suffrage organization's wealthy young female volunteers, and Mary, with Holmes in the background, investigates, little knowing what danger she personally faces.

8. A Letter of Mary (1996) 4.5 stars

Sherlock Holmes and his scholarly companion Mary Russell are caught up in an exciting mystery when an archaeologist leaves them with a treasured find, a papyrus supposedly written by Mary Magdalene. When the archaeoligist winds up dead and someone attempts to make off with the artifact, Holmes and Russel become embroiled in a rollicking story filled with political intrigue and highbrow sleuthing.

9. The Moor (1998) 3.5 stars

The Moor, fourth in the series, Holmes and Russell are summoned to Devonshire to solve a tin miner's mysterious death. Lonely Dartmoor provides plenty of opportunities for King to both relate the haunting legends of that part of the world and offer some amusing revisions to one of Holmes's most famous cases, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

10. O Jerusalem (1999) 4 stars

It's 1918. Nineteen-year-old Mary and her fiftysomething mentor are forced to flee England to escape a deadly adversary. Sherlock's well-connected brother Mycroft sends them to Palestine to do some international sleuthing. Here, a series of murders threatens the fragile peace.

11. Justice Hall (2002) 5+ stars

A lost heir, murder most foul, and the unexpected return of two old friends start Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes--spouses and intellectual equals--on an investigation that takes them from the trenches of World War I France to the heights of English society. In this sixth entry in Laurie King's award-winning series, fans will find the Baker Street sleuth mellowed by age and marriage yet still in possession of his deductive abilities and acerbic wit, and, in Mary Russell, a surprisingly apt companion for the legendary detective.

12. The Game (2004) 5 stars

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.

13. Locked Rooms (2005) 4.5 stars

set in San Francisco in 1924, Russell undertakes a far more personal investigation. Since she began her journey back to her hometown—ostensibly to deal with her father's estate—Russell has been tormented by strange dreams, one of which involves the "locked rooms" of the title, and the sight of her San Francisco childhood home opens a flood of memories and emotions, most of which she's loathe to allow into her ├╝ber-rational mind. When someone takes a shot at her, Holmes enlists the help of Pinkerton agent Dashiell Hammett and Russell tries to unlock her past, in particular the "accident" that killed her family and left her an orphan in 1914.

14. The Language of Bees 4.5 stars

For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad was especially sweet. There was even a mystery to solve--the unexplained disappearance of an entire colony of bees from one of Holmes’s beloved hives.

But the anticipated sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a galling memory from her husband’s past. Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, when the promising surrealist painter had been charged with--and exonerated from--murder. Now the talented and troubled young man was enlisting their help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child.

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