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4.2 out of 5 stars
A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell Mystery 3) (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2003
If like me you can't bring yourself to believe that the restless mind of the great detective Sherlock Holmes could ever be content with the study of beekeeping you won't be surprised by the discovery of yet more lost manuscripts detailing his post retirement adventures. The Beekeeper's Apprentice introduced the character of Mary Russell; A Letter of Mary takes place years later and Mary has now married Sherlock - shocked gasp. King's books are meticulously researched and are fascinating studies of the era even without all the Holmsian trapping that she has so effortlessly reinvented and made her own without ever coming close to pastiche. I don't think there can be many fans of Holmes who would be disappointed with her treatment of the character.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I was relieved when I found this series; an intelligent and well-written continuation to the career of Sherlock Holmes that never slips into pastiche.

This is the third of the Mary Russell books, although it could be read on its own. Mary and Sherlock Homes are now married, and although it isn't the most convincing marriage in the world, it is quite a convincing partnership. Mary is approached by an old acquaintance, a feminist archaeologist, who brings her a papyrus which is supposedly a letter written by Mary Magdalene. On the night following this meeting the archaeologist becomes the victim of a hit and run accident and Mary and Sherlock investigate.

Again, this is an interesting and atmospheric book and takes an interesting approach to the Sherlock Holmes way of investigating (especially as investigating techniques have changed and improved since he first started out.) My only disappointment was that the ending was something of an anti-climax. It wouldn't stop me reading others in the series though
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2010
I noticed it occasionally in the first 2 books, but in this one it seems that Laurie R King has given up her attempts to use realistically English dialogue. Mary can of course justifiably speak American English, but Mycroft, Lestrade and Holmes should not. It is really really starting to grate, as are the anachronisms and occasional lapses in sense. This lack of attention to detail makes for a read on a level with some not very good web fanfiction. This is a shame as despite my initial reservations I find Mary Russell and her relationship quite convincing.

There is a definite anti-climax to this book, even if this is sort of an in-joke.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2010
This is the third novel in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series of detective novels written by Laurie R. King. I love the entire series, but this is one of my favourites, and I've found myself returning to it again and again.

King's depiction of Mary Russell is compelling - she gives her character a unique, feminist, intelligent voice which is often hard to find in contemporary fiction. Mary Russell is a woman you feel you'd like to get to know better. King's genius is in making Sherlock Holmes into a supporting actor in the stories - he is the same Holmes that Conan Doyle wrote, but he is humanised in his retirement, and his under-stated love for Mary Russell. The central relationship between the two is beautifully drawn, and King displays a deftness of touch which keeps you coming back for more.

The mystery at the heart of the book is worthy of Conan Doyle, and is solved in appropriate fashion, with Holmes and Russell working in partnership. King enjoys showing off her erudition here, and the themes of an Apocryphal document purportedly from Mary Magdalene, containing explosive information about Mary Magdalene's status, is handled with such aplomb that Dan Brown ought to weep into his coffee.

Highly recommend this engaging, intriguing, and fantastically well written book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2004
One of my favourite Laurie R. King books, this novel has a hugely entertaining and fast paced plot.
Mary Russell meets an old friend who has a rather controversial theory regarding Mary Magdeline, which she is about to make public. Her theory is arousing feelings of enmity amongst her male colleagues. The friend also shows Mary a rather mysterious puzzle box. Shortly afterwards this friend is killed in a hit and run incident. Accident or murder ? Holmes and Mary investigate.
Unlike some of her other Sherlock Holmes pastiches, this novel does not feature the rather lengthy historical travel descriptions which bogged down King's other novels "Oh Jerusalem" and "The Moor". A gripping and entertaining crime novel featuring King's wonderful characterisations of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell. I enjoyed this as much as I did "A Monstous Regiment Of Women"... hugely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2014
I love this series of books and had by accident started with the 10th. I have read 7 of them now and I felt this is perhaps the weakest for me. The plot subject was excellent and could have been much more explosive. The book certainly began with all the promise of another excellent book from L King but at the end I felt 'well is that it...'. I had guessed the perpetrator half way through, and the plot began to loose pace. I persevered for the 'why' but was left with a vague sense of disappointment. However , because I have already read some of the later books I would say anyone starting out with this series persevere it does get much, much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2014
I enjoy this series as a continuation of the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries. You meet a few old favorites (Mycroft, etc) in this book and get to see how Holmes' relationship with them is balanced against his relationship with Mary. The details in this book fit with what was happening around the world during the 1920's and it's amazing how much research Laurie King has done to get the feel of the book just right. This is one intriguing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2012
Provided you don't mind pastiche and a considrable degree of implausibility, King's series of Holmes and Russell novels are entertaining, well crafted and worthwhile. Whilst the central premise - that Holmes marries late in life a girl scarcely out of her teens - requires a considerable suspension of disbelief, the plots are well constructed, and the characterisation convincing. Certainly worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2014
Ms King has written a series of books that make Sherlock Homes a more rounded character. The books do not upset the die-hard Holmes fans and I doubt that Conan Doyle would be in the least put out by the added dimension to his character, in fact I think he would be slightly envious.
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on 31 May 2014
The third Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes adventure.

The duo investigate the mysterious death of an elderly archaeologist - a friend from Mary's past.

Mary is still difficult to warm too, she prefers to dress in men's clothing, but when she has to go undercover as a sweet young thing, she is naturally a stunner. And, naturally she soon has to fend off the attentions of two men. Hard to know whether the author is having a joke here or that Mary is as up herself as she comes across.

Otherwise this is a little dry with an unmemorable mystery. However, where this does score is the emotional impact of the death on Mary which lifts this out of what otherwise seems to be just an ego-trip.
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