"A Letter of Mary" book review
“A Letter of Mary” is Laurie R. King’s third offering in the Mary Russell series, and I think it’s the best so far.
The story takes place in Sussex, England, at the home of Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes (I know, freaked me out at first too, the great detective married). Mary and Sherlock have a visitor one day, a friend named Miss Dorothy Ruskin, an archaeologist who has been working in Palestine. Ruskin entrusts a manuscript with the couple, an ancient document that hints that Mary Magdalene was an apostle (no, not the wife of Jesus, as The DaVinci Code suggests). Mary Russell, a Biblical scholar with a passion for the sacred feminine, is intrigued.
And then there’s an awful accident, and Dorothy Ruskin is killed.
Russell and Holmes are on the case, and it’s a corking good story. I read the entire Sherlock Holmes collection as a teenager (I will not share how long ago that was), and Laurie R. King does a fine job of showing the quirks, brilliance, and moods of the great detective as an aging married man. Sherlock has finally met his match in Mary Russell. She’s a gifted scholar, independent, speaks her mind, and throws a pretty good punch when she must.
As Russell and Holmes dig for the truth about Dorothy Ruskin’s “accident,” I was not sure I would ever find out what really happened. And when the answers were finally revealed, I was satisfied and in awe of Ms. King’s storytelling abilities.
“A Letter of Mary” caught me in its web on the first few pages, and once again I could not put a Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes tale down until I was on the last page.
So it’s on to book four, “The Moor,” as soon as I finish a few other books in my reading queue. I need to keep reading these, because book eleven, “The Pirate King,” is hitting bookstores on September 6.
And here’s another fun fact: Mary Russell has a Twitter account! I love it.
@mary_russell on twitter