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4.6 out of 5 stars27
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 5 February 2006
Justice Hall starts out far-fetched but then develops quietly and consistently into a great mystery novel. Returning from weeks spent on the wild Moors, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are ready to settle down in their Sussex cottage for a rest when there is a knock at the door. It is their Bedouin buddy Ali who, with his brother Mahmoud, had served as a guide to the disguised couple during their 1919 visit to Palestine (related in O Jerusalem).
It seems that Ali and Mahmoud aren't Middle Eastern at all. Their real names are Alistair and Marsh (Maurice). And they are not just British. Due to some heavy pruning of the family tree, Marsh is now to become the Seventh Duke of Beauville and is living in Justice Hall, the family mansion, with Ali residing down the road at Old Badger Place.
Holmes and Russell are invited to visit and are drawn slowly into the mysteries of the family and its bloodline. All of the classic British estate mystery novel cliches are here: the shot gone astray during a hunt, hidden staircases, obsequious servants, dressing for dinner, ne'er-do-well relatives, endless tromps through the estate grounds, and even a costume ball. Yet they seem vibrant and appropriate rather than tired and reheated.
Since this series is based on the author's claim of being an editor to a set of notebooks purportedly left by the mysterious Mary Russell, the reader expects these stories to be grounded in historic fact. Yet there seems to be no real Duke of Beauville, no Justice Hall, not even the local towns seem to exist in any online search. This is such a change from the previous book in the series, The Moor, where Russell and Holmes visit the very real Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould during his final year on earth. Also, when it turns out that Marsh's marriage was one of convenience for his lesbian wife, I kept waiting for Marsh and Ali to "come out" - which never happened. Instead we are left with them appearing to be sexless middle-aged Peter Pans wishing to return to their life or adventure rather than growing up.
It takes a while for a plot to develop, but for those patient enough to wait, the story is wonderfully rich and satisfying.
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on 19 October 2011
There is a most unexpected turn of events right at the beginning of this book, with characters reappearing from "O Jerusalem" but in quite a different guise. I wondered if they and the plot would survive the translation to an English country house, but they did and the entire story unfolded without a loose end in sight. As ever, Laurie R King can establish a setting and atmosphere like none other, and this book was delightful to read from beginning to end. The story itself is about righting wrongs, establishing the truth and releasing a man from a life which can only be a burden to him. Absolutely marvellous.
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on 12 October 2011
I read Justice Hall despite not having read all previous books from this series. I recently finished O Jerusalem and was curious how the two friends from Palestine are doing.

It was a slow start. I mean I hardly could put down the previous books I read but I really struggled. It was more like a description of a strange country house party with no real plot.

But I continued and it payed off. The plot thickens and some of the characters, esp. Iris, are very good and fit to Russell and Holmes. Unfortunately there was, for me, not enough interaction between Russell and Holmes, most of their book-time was spent apart.

I found the end a little bit rushed as Ms King suddenly realised the book has to be finished.

I hope we will see Ali and Mahmoud again.
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on 10 December 2014
I love the Russell and Holmes books. Love the way they are written and this is a sequel allowing us to meet again two characters who were interesting the first time around and doubly so this time. The story of how a person is locked into family tradition, honour and obligation is extremely interesting and although not totally believable, no less entertaining for that. Her descriptions are slightly romantic but as a native of Britain and a lover of old houses, I found it quite acceptable. A book I read with a smile on my face - as I do most of hers. Interesting plot good conclusion although I suppose inevitable given the style of the book. But I loved it.
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on 1 July 2014
I bought the first book of this series - The Beekeeper's Apprentice - on spec. I did not know anything about Mary Russell and I had not heard of the book or the author. I read the first page and I was hooked! Since then I have ordered each book as I finished the previous one.

Justice Hall is a very good read. The characterization is excellent, the writing is superb. It's the sort of writing that you re-read because it's so good and expresses so well. The story is part of the continuing saga of events that take place within the months of 1924 and hangs together well.
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on 23 May 2004
I trust that you are familiar with Laurie R. Kings Russell-series otherwise I recommend to read the previous books first, especially The Beekeeper's Apprentice and O Jerusalem otherwise this book may make less sence to you.
I only recently discovered the Russell-series, so I had the advantage to read all the books in short order. I would wholehearteadly say that I like Justice Hall most of all but not for Holmes, Russell or the interaction between the two of them.
I like it for another resson: Ali and Mahmoud or in this case Alistair and Marsh (and also in addition Iris) are the best "guest"characters Laurie R. King wrote in the whole series. They are vivid, believable, interesting and the relationshsip between them is just fascinating (a shame-marriage between Iris and Marsh on one side, a strong subtext between Marsh and Alistair on the other). I definitely hope there will be more of them in future books.
But there is too less Russell in the book and even lesser Holmes. And Holmes is - at least for me - the reason why I buy the series. I don't necessary expect him to be more involved in the mere "action", after all he si over 60 int hsi books. But at least he should reflect more on the events and persons involved. For example I would have liked to read his opinion about the relationship between Marsh, Iris and Alistair. But he only gives a smile as answer of Russells (therefore the readers) question. I miss his (and Russell's, too, to some degree)skills of observing and deduction.
At the first sight the plot seems exciting but on the second thought there are too many and too big wholes and contradictions in it. Mrs. King even seemed unably to remember the names she gave Ali and Mahmoud at their first mention in The Beekeeper's Apprentice (which were Albert and Mathew at this time not Alistair and Maurice called Marsh like now).
In the end things were rushed too much as in most of the series'installments and questions especially about the motivations behind the events remain unanswered (or are at least not satiesfying answered).
So my fazit are mixed feelings about the books: it's great for the "guest"characters but it misses a lot of things when it comes to the main protagonists and the plot as a whole. Neverthless: if you like the series or at least if you liked O Jerusalem you should read it.
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on 23 May 2004
I trust that you are familiar with Laurie R. Kings Russell-series otherwise I recommend to read the previous books first, especially The Beekeeper's Apprentice and O Jerusalem otherwise this book may make less sence to you.
I only recently discovered the Russell-series, so I had the advantage to read all the books in short order. I would wholehearteadly say that I like Justice Hall most of all but not for Holmes, Russell or the interaction between the two of them.
I like it for another resson: Ali and Mahmoud or in this case Alistair and Marsh (and also in addition Iris) are the best "guest"characters Laurie R. King wrote in the whole series. They are vivid, believable, interesting and the relationshsip between them is just fascinating (a shame-marriage between Iris and Marsh on one side, a strong subtext between Marsh and Alistair on the other). I definitely hope there will be more of them in future books.
But there is too less Russell in the book and even lesser Holmes. And Holmes is - at least for me - the reason why I buy the series. I don't necessary expect him to be more involved in the mere "action", after all he si over 60 int hsi books. But at least he should reflect more on the events and persons involved. For example I would have liked to read his opinion about the relationship between Marsh, Iris and Alistair. But he only gives a smile as answer of Russells (therefore the readers) question. I miss his (and Russell's, too, to some degree)skills of observing and deduction.
At the first sight the plot seems exciting but on the second thought there are too many and too big wholes and contradictions in it. Mrs. King even seemed unably to remember the names she gave Ali and Mahmoud at their first mention in The Beekeeper's Apprentice (which were Albert and Mathew at this time not Alistair and Maurice called Marsh like now).
In the end things were rushed too much as in most of the series'installments and questions especially about the motivations behind the events remain unanswered (or are at least not satiesfying answered).
So my fazit are mixed feelings about the books: it's great for the "guest"characters but it misses a lot of things when it comes to the main protagonists and the plot as a whole. Neverthless: if you like the series or at least if you liked O Jerusalem you should read it.
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on 23 May 2004
I trust that you are familiar with Laurie R. Kings Russell-series otherwise I recommend to read the previous books first, especially The Beekeeper's Apprentice and O Jerusalem otherwise this book may make less sence to you.
I only recently discovered the Russell-series, so I had the advantage to read all the books in short order. I would wholehearteadly say that I like Justice Hall most of all but not for Holmes, Russell or the interaction between the two of them.
I like it for another resson: Ali and Mahmoud or in this case Alistair and Marsh (and also in addition Iris) are the best "guest"characters Laurie R. King wrote in the whole series. They are vivid, believable, interesting and the relationshsip between them is just fascinating (a shame-marriage between Iris and Marsh on one side, a strong subtext between Marsh and Alistair on the other). I definitely hope there will be more of them in future books.
But there is too less Russell in the book and even lesser Holmes. And Holmes is - at least for me - the reason why I buy the series. I don't necessary expect him to be more involved in the mere "action", after all he si over 60 int hsi books. But at least he should reflect more on the events and persons involved. For example I would have liked to read his opinion about the relationship between Marsh, Iris and Alistair. But he only gives a smile as answer of Russells (therefore the readers) question. I miss his (and Russell's, too, to some degree)skills of observing and deduction.
At the first sight the plot seems exciting but on the second thought there are too many and too big wholes and contradictions in it. Mrs. King even seemed unably to remember the names she gave Ali and Mahmoud at their first mention in The Beekeeper's Apprentice (which were Albert and Mathew at this time not Alistair and Maurice called Marsh like now).
In the end things were rushed too much as in most of the series'installments and questions especially about the motivations behind the events remain unanswered (or are at least not satiesfying answered).
So my fazit are mixed feelings about the books: it's great for the "guest"characters but it misses a lot of things when it comes to the main protagonists and the plot as a whole. Neverthless: if you like the series or at least if you liked O Jerusalem you should read it.
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on 29 October 2011
I love the book kept me gripped right to the end.Laurie King at her best.Made me think about reprucussions of actions in the first world war and the travesties of Justice for those poor men.
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on 6 February 2015
Have enjoyed many Mary and Sherlock books, this one has been a particular favourite. Some of the characters appeared in a previous book ( O JERUSALEM ) and it was particularly pleasing to meet up with them again in a different setting. More genteel perhaps but just as intriguing.
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