Intelligent, complex and richly imagined, A Letter of Mary is the third in the award-winning Laurie King series chronicling the unlikely partnership between the misogynistic Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, the young woman he takes on as his apprentice. August, 1923. The quiet in the Holmes household in Sussex is shaken when Dorothy Ruskin, an ...
Intelligent, complex and richly imagined, A Letter of Mary is the third in the award-winning Laurie King series chronicling the unlikely partnership between the misogynistic Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, the young woman he takes on as his apprentice. August, 1923. The quiet in the Holmes household in Sussex is shaken when Dorothy Ruskin, an amateur archaeologist from the Holy Land, appears with an exquisite inlaid box containing a scrap of ancient writing. Miss Ruskin soon dies in a traffic accident that Holmes and Mary prove was murder. But what was the motivation? Was it the little inlaid box holding the manuscript? Or the woman's involvement in the volatile politics of the Holy Land? Or could it have been the manuscript itself -- a letter seemingly written by Mary Magdalene that contains a biblical bombshell. Beautifully written and steeped in authentic period detail, A Letter of Mary is a fascinating and intelligent read.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-11-18 King set a new paradigm for Holmesian scholarship with her inspired invention of a retired, still energetic Sherlock Holmes who trained young Mary Russell in The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994) and then embraced her as a professional partner and wife (A Monstrous Regiment of Women, 1995). This third in the series, set in 1923, involves the suspicious death of Dorothy Ruskin, an amateur archeologist recently returned from Palestine, who gave Mary, an academic theologian, a letter dated about A.D. 70 written by "Mariam the Apostle" to her sister in Magdala. Mary Magdalene? An Apostle? Holmes and "Mrs. Sherlock," as Lord Peter Wimsey addresses her in a funny cameo, collaborate. Red herrings define the political and cultural climate: a retired colonel's opposition to women's suffrage; Dorothy's interest in Zionism; the British Near East scholar/spy network; the tumultuously upsetting implications of the letter for organized Christianity. The investigation also includes the Ruskin family. King's achievement is her depiction of the complex relationship between two individualists. Almost 40 years apart, they're fondly indulgent of one another's idiosyncrasies and share intellectual camaraderie, companionable humor and sexual attraction. While Sherlock delivers ongoing tutelage in arcane clue analysis, Mary hypnotizes a witness to prod her memory. If you can't imagine the misogynist Sherlock Holmes sharing domestic bliss, this novel will make you a believer. Major ad/promo; author tour; paperback rights: Bantam; audio rights: Durkin Hayes and Recorded Books.(Jan.)
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