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4.1 out of 5 stars47
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 18 November 2015
I bought this book as the Kindle deal of the day, thinking that it sounded fun. Even in reading a short section of the sample, I realised that in both style and vocabulary it had more depth than I had originally expected. Laurie King is a talented writer who has created a fun, feisty and formidable heroine in Mary Russell and I am keen to read more about her in the rest of the series, although I do feel their are some anachronisms. You will have read the synopsis or you will not have found this review. If you want to know more about the plot, or Mary and her relationship with Sherlock Holmes, buy the book!
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on 5 April 2007
Whilst in London, Mary Russell, apprentice detective to the great Sherlock Holmes, comes across a friend from Oxford. The young woman introduces Mary to the strange and enigmatic Margery Childe, leader of `The New Temple of God', which appears to be a sect involved in the post-World War One suffrage movement, with a feminist slant on Christianity. When a series of murders claims members of the movement's wealthy young female volunteers and principal contributors, Mary, with Holmes in the background, starts to investigate. But events spiral out of control.
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VINE VOICEon 12 April 2008
This is the second book in the series of Mary Russell novels and although I hadn't read the first book, 'The Beekeeper's Apprentice', it didn't really seem to matter.

Mary Russell is about to turn twenty-one and gain her inheritance and her freedom. She seems to follow a fairly unconventional life for a woman in Victorian England; frequently dressing as a young man and striding fearlessly into dangerous situations. She also has an unlikely friendship and working relationship with Sherlock Holmes who makes appearances throughout the book.

Mary is in London when she runs into an old university friend who takes her to 'The New Temple of God'; an organisation run by women who do charitable works for children and deprived women. It is there that she meets the charismatic Margery Childe. However, Mary's involvement becomes an investigating role, when several of the women involved with the temple are murdered.

I enjoyed this novel, it's light and atmospheric but I was hoping the Holmes would feature a bit more than he does. Still worth a read though.
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on 2 December 2015
An interesting extension to the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes novels but not a convincing sequel. It is a very good story in it's own right, sometimes it can be too heavy on detail and slow on action, but when the action arrives someone is always badly hurt or killed. The mystery kept me involved throughout. I will look forward to reading how the relationship between Holmes and Mary develops following the denouement of this story.
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This series of books had been recommended to me and I have now read a couple. The stories are quite good but I find the whole set up perverse (if not actually perverted). I hate to think what Holmes and Watson would think of it. I won't be reading any more.

Laurie R King can write a good story. Why does she have to latch on to someone else's work? It devalues the original and diminishes her own.
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on 5 August 2014
I loved this book, especially as I am now well into Mary Russell and her ways. In this one the Holmes/Russell partnership takes on a deeper collaboration which is entirely believable. I hope that the author does not stop now.
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on 5 February 2006
A Monstrous Regiment of Women is the second novel in a series that features the female detective Mary Russell. In this volume Russell, who is an Oxford theology scholar, meets Margery Childe, a natural religious mystic, who is the charismatic leader of the Temple of God in 1921 London. Drawn together by their feminist leanings, and attracted to each other by their different approaches to the spiritual, these two women become close. Yet Mary becomes even more involved when rich women start dying in suspicious ways, and their wills show they are leaving large sums to the Temple.
Mary has been a close friend to the retired Sherlock Holmes. Their meeting and early years together are described in the first volume of the series: The Beekeeper's Apprentice. He has been teaching her his skills as a detective. The Temple deaths become her first case.
There is a subplot of romance as Mary and the elderly Holmes develop a sexual attraction towards each other. How they deal with it and how it transforms their professional and personal relationship is quite interesting.
I have been a fan of another set of feminist mystery novels that features a female detective working with Sherlock Holmes, the Irene Adler series by Carole Nelson Douglas. Both series feature a feminist and assertively brilliant American woman with a strong personal career. While Mary Russell is a biblical scholar, Irene Adler is an opera singer. While Laurie King pits a teenage girl against a retired older Holmes, Douglas lifts right out of A Scandal in Bohemia a woman of his own age that Holmes was attracted to and weaves her novels around the existing Arthur Conan Doyle stories. Where Mary Russell is serious and Tom-boyish, Irene Adler is flamboyantly female. Yet both feel comfortable donning a male disguise in their work. Laurie King roots her novels in Mary's theological research which leaves little room for light humor. Douglas's series is much lighter with a minister's daughter playing it straight to Adler's theatrics. Mary Russell's close relationship with Holmes allows a lot more character development than does the more distant relationship between Douglas's married Adler and Holmes. Yet both series are delightful reads in their own ways.
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on 26 August 2015
I must admit to being greatly disappointed in this book. It's predecessor was built on solid foundations and was a delight to read. Although the plot in this book is a good one and the writing is done well, I found the premise underlying the book - a love affair between Holmes and Russell - utterly implausible. There are also too many anachronisms that speak badly for the author's research about life in Britain in the 1920s.

In summary, a potentially good book marred by poor research and prejudice.
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on 10 August 2015
Plainly and simply fascinating touching on many themes a most enjoyable experience with a brilliantly composed political subtext. Greatly esteemed.
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on 21 May 2014
I loved this one. It was another exciting story from Laurie R. King.
I knew I was in for a good read from the very first page.
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