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A Letter of Mary: A Mary Russell Novel (G K Hall Large Print Book Series) Hardcover – Apr 1997

18 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Apr 1997
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G K Hall & Co; Lrg edition (April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0783880677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0783880679
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 24.8 x 16.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,825,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘A novel which challenges the cliches of history’
Independent

‘Laurie King’s idea… is beguiling’
Ham & High (of A Monstrous Regiment of Women)

‘King’s novel is civilized, ingenious and engrossing’
Literary Review

‘An inventive variation on the Sherlock Holmes myth’
Time Out

‘Crime fiction’s most unlikely but utterly credible romance… Laurie King is the most interesting writer to emerge on the American crime fiction front in recent years’
Val McDermid (of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice)

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The third novel in Laurie King’s riveting and intelligent series featuring Sherlock Holmes and his partner in sleuthing, Mary Russell.

It is August 1923 and all is quiet in the Holmes household in Sussex. Mary Russell works on academic research while Sherlock Holmes conducts malodorous chemistry experiments. Butthe peace comes crashing down when a figure from Mary’s past enters their lives: Dorothy Ruskin, an amateur archaeologist recently returned from the Holy Land, pays the couple a visit, bringing with her a gift – a charming inlaid box containing a tattered roll of stained papyrus.

The evening following their meeting, Miss Ruskin dies in a traffic accident that Holmes and Mary soon prove was murder. But what was the motivation? Was it the inlaid box holding the manuscript? Or the woman’s involvement in the volatile politics of the Holy Land? Or could it have been the scroll itself, a deeply troubling letter apparently written by Mary Magdalene that contains a biblical bombshell …

Perfectly combining the elements of crime and historical detail, 'A Letter of Mary' is a fascinating and beautifully observed novel from the award-winning Laurie King.

PRAISE FOR LAURIE R KING

”One of the most literate and gifted writers the mystery world has seen for some time”
VAL MCDERMID

“If there is a new P.D. James … I would put my money on Laurie King”
BOSTON GLOBE

THE BEEKEEPER’S APPRENTICE

“Civilised, ingenious and engrossing. Best of all it has heart”
LITERARY REVIEW

“An inventive variation on the Sherlock Holmes myth”
TIME OUT

“ A tantalising novel, both for the intelligence and charm of the flirtation as well as for the intrigue of plot “
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

A MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN

“A novel which challenges the cliches of history”
INDEPENDENT

“ A diverting book”
JAMES MELVILLE, Ham and High

“As audacious as it is entertaining and moving”
CHIGAGO TRIBUNE

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Finn on 10 May 2003
Format: Paperback
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 May 2008
Format: Paperback
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 By ScottyK on 29 July 2010
Format: Paperback
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 By Jack on 15 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 By "great-read" on 14 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 By pinksunset on 11 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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