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on 10 March 2001
The fourth in Laurie King's series featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, this one returns to Dartmoor, the setting of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel, 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. And, like in its predecessor there are tales of a ghostly hound out on the moors, this time accompanying an equally ghostly carriage.
This series are always well worth a read. Laurie King brings carries off three significant tricks, each alone being worth the price of admission: characterisation of her leads, local and contemporary colour, and a great plot.
In terms of the first, both Holmes and Russell are depicted as somewhat prickly characters, unwilling to suffer fools gladly, and each with their own areas of interest and expertise. Russell works well by herself, but sparks of all kinds fly when her husband is around (being narrated by Russell, we never see Holmes by himself). In this book, the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould also features strongly, and occasionally view with the leads for our attention. Given he is virtually bedridden, this is no small feat.
The depiction of different kinds of characters and their environments helps bring the story to life. Between those who live on the moor and those who live in the village, lords of the manor and their servants and so forth, we have no opportunity to mistake where and when the book is set. Two scenes which didn't really advance the plot but were wonderful are Russell's meeting with the local witch (as the moor dwellers call her), Elizabeth Chase, and a scene set in the pub where the locals spend the evening singing to entertain themselves - with its attendant rivalry between those who live in the village and those who live on the moor.
Russell's growing understanding of the moor as a place and a presence in the life of its inhabitants also works very well.
And lastly the plot: it's a cracker! I'm not going to give anything more away, but the final outcome was not what I had expected at the beginning of the book.
In summary: what are you waiting for?
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on 23 December 1997
For those who worried that Laurie King was losing her touch, and that the once-sparkling partnership of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes was in danger of becoming dull, worry no more. THE MOOR, despite its superficially derivative premise, is a fresh, original, and thoroughly engaging mystery featuring Russell and Holmes at their intellectual and investigative best. King has done her homework here and it shows -- she not only shows the reader the brooding vistas of Dartmoor, she transports them there.
Also not to be missed is the eccentric, prickly, but always fascinating character of the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, a real individual in more ways than one. Again King's scrupulous research comes into play here, as she weaves fact and fiction into a seamless whole.
Many of King's former weaknesses in crafting a mystery -- such as failing to introduce us to the villain until the very end of the story -- have been diligently amended here; and, as always, there are enough tips of the hat to (and, occasionally, sly but affectionate pokes at) the Conan-Doyle "canon" to tickle the fancy of Sherlockians. Holmes is at his ascerbic, brilliant best, and Russell shows a human, fallible side that makes her all the more likeable in the end.

This is, in my opinion, the best Russell book since THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE, and more than worth the price of admission.
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VINE VOICEon 21 November 2011
Laurie R. King has founded a whole genre writing new Sherlock Holmes mysteries with a female protagonist in the lead. To contrive fictions on fiction, renew and maintain the original fictional style, and invent cracking new stories, is no mean feat, and the Mary Russell series is to be highly commended as entertaining novels with clever nuances which always stay just the right side of parody or pastiche.

The Moor is no exception to the rather brilliant inventions Laurie King brings to each of Mary Russell's escapades with her hero husband, Sherlock Holmes. Detective stories with a difference, each book sparkles with wit, perception, expertise in story, style, and sensibility, acute eye for detail, and an electric personal touch in the relationship between Holmes and his wife, 30 years his junior, the intelligent, intellectual, dynamic, eclectic, fascinating Mary Russell.

I recommend The Moor as I recommend all the Mary Russell books. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a detective novel, and/or who has a secret penchant for Sherlock Holmes, will love them all.
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on 15 August 2015
Is she becoming a dusty old academic at the tender age of 23 or 24? It seems possible, but with Holmes tearing her away from the Bodleian and ancient theologies to assist in investigating mysteries, perhaps she may yet become more "normal". This mystery revolves around a well known (real) figure and Dartmoor...the moors and its peculiarities. Despite dauntingly dismal weather the mystery unravels and is eventually solved...the solution is far less exciting and interesting than the scene and the characters, however. The descriptions of the moors and the legends are enjoyable, bringing an unusual depth to the narrative.
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on 29 January 2012
I read Beekeeper's Apprentice with some apprehension as authors picking up historical detectives and producing follow-on series is seldom convincing, but Laurie King has produced an impressive effort. By using Mary Russell as the key narrator King has subtly altered the emphasis of the books away from Holmes. The Moor is well written, the story in true Conan Doyle style and I can recommend it as an interesting read.
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on 11 February 1999
This book features Sherlock Holmes in his late 50s, and his godfather, Revd Sabine Baring-Gould, a real person who lived in Devonshire, England from 1834-1924. The story takes place in 1923, a few weeks before Baring-Gould's death. Mary Russell, the narrator, is married to Holmes, and they have both been summoned to Dartmoor to solve a murder mystery. The story itself is weak, and requires knowledge of 'the Hound of the Baskervilles' for a full appreciation. This is compensated for, however, by the wonderfully vivid and realistic descriptions of Dartmoor, and Lew House, where Baring-Gould lived. As someone who grew up a few miles from this spot, I can vouch for the absolute accuracy of the setting. Laurie King has also read just about all of Baring-Gould's 150 books, and quotes delightfully from many of them. The skill of the book lies in the imaginative conjunction of a fictional and a real character, and for any reader with knowledge of either man, the result is very pleasing. As a lifelong afficionado of Sabine Baring-Gould, I am most indebted to King for bringing him into greater prominence.
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on 5 June 2014
Mary Russell joins her husband Sherlock Holmes to investigate more strange sightings on the Dartmoor moors.

Number Four in the series.

Firstly, there is not much of a mystery. I'd worked it out long before the dynamic duo did. There is little in the way of atmosphere or suspense. In fact, the author seems to go out of her way to make this as unlike 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' as she can. Indeed, if readers are expecting a sequel, they will be disappointed.

Secondly, Mary Russell. Her sneering attitude towards others, her glee in describing other people's faults, her jealousy of any kind of relationship her husband has with other people, the complete lack of any self-analysis is extremely waring. I also found grating the way it is pointed out to the reader that Mary and Sherlock Holmes have sex. Who cares? It seems Mary does care, a great deal.

Thirdly, this book moves very, very slowly. Very little happens for much of its 200 plus pages, but in a funny kind of way, I enjoyed it. This promises much, but delivers little, beyond trying to work how much of this character driven, or just author fantasy. The three stars may seem too much but two stars was not quite enough.
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on 25 October 2015
Another engaging book in this series, which is a well-written and cleverly-imagined continuation of the Sherlock Holmes stories. HOWEVER, there was what I felt to be one jarring note which brought me up sharply - at one point, slipping into a dangerous bog is described as being covered by a DUVET! I know the character Mary Russell is meant to be a thoroughly modern and well-travelled young lady but this set in is the early 1900s. I was brought up in the UK in the 1950s and 60s and I had never even heard of a duvet until probably the late 60s/early 70s - and even then I would probably have called it a Continental quilt. I think the term "eiderdown" would have been much more appropriate and certainly less jarring - but overall this small point didn't detract from my enjoyment of another interesting "Holmes and Russell" mystery. I will continue to work my way through the series..
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on 11 June 2016
Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are called in to solve a murder on Dartmoor. An old haunt for Sherlock where he solved tbe case of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

I was first drawn to this book by its mysterious cover and the premise. I haven't read a Sherlock Holmes book before although I know who he is and what types of stories he does feature in. This book is the fourth in the series but my first. I know nothing about Mary Russell and how she came to marry Holmes so I'm thrown straight into it.

The book is very wordy and has wonderful descriptions of Dartmoor. I enjoyed the descriptions and liking a good walk myself I could picture myself up there covered in mud.

However this is what the book seems to be all about, the moors. Mary and Sherlock seem to spend an awful lot of time walking the moors. Not a lot else seems to happen in the book. As much as I was enjoying the descriptions of the landscape and all the ghostly goings on, superstitions and old stories, I was bored.

The story started of promising and I was thinking my type of book, but oh no I had had enough. Skimming the last 100 pages just to see what was what.

Unfortunately not enough in this book to thrill me and to reach out for more in the series. Lovely descriptions though. I also think that perhaps I needed to have read The Hound of the Baskervilles.
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on 5 February 2006
In The Moor by Laurie R. King, her fourth pairing of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, the author has the husband and wife team return to the moors made famous in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles. This time they are summoned by the eccentric scholar Sabine Baring-Gould to explore some mysterious occurrences which includes two deaths and the appearance of a ghostly coach which is accompanied by a hellish hound with one glowing eye.
Laurie King claims in her Editor's Preface that these stories were found in a trunk that was mysteriously left at her front door. Purportedly the notes of the real Mary Russell, this story is set in 1924. Each chapter is introduced with a quote from one of Baring-Gould's many works.
Russell has her hands full with the aging and sexist Baring-Gould who has a close relationship with Holmes. The problems of a woman in male society are well portrayed, and she eventually wins the respect of the elderly scholar. It is a long story that is rich in local characters and legends. By the time of this novel Holmes and Russell have settled into a comfortable relationship based on mutual respect and the main dynamics are between them and the people of the moor.
A well-written tale with lots of atmosphere that will appeal to the historic mystery buff.
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