STARRED REVIEW
April 05, 2016

Secrets of Holmes’ longtime landlady

By Laurie R. King

Sherlock Holmes groupies will need to adjust their sights while reading Laurie R. King’s latest Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell mystery, The Murder of Mary Russell. Fans of the series who’ve bought into the fiction that Holmes would’ve ever married in the first place must now further adapt to the idea that the loyal Mrs. Hudson has a lot more to her than sweeping up after Holmes or bringing his breakfast.

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Sherlock Holmes groupies will need to adjust their sights while reading Laurie R. King’s latest Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell mystery, The Murder of Mary Russell. Fans of the series who’ve bought into the fiction that Holmes would’ve ever married in the first place must now further adapt to the idea that the loyal Mrs. Hudson has a lot more to her than sweeping up after Holmes or bringing his breakfast.

King has taken off at full speed on an imaginative if totally far-fetched construction of Clara (or is it Clarissa?) Hudson’s past that creates a whole new storyline and even sets readers up for an exciting sequel. By the end of this fast-moving story, Mrs. Hudson and her longstanding companion, Billy, are party to the new possibility of life separate from their relationship with the famous detective and his wife, Mary Russell.

Russell, at home alone on a spring day, answers her door to a stunning surprise—a rough-and-tumble Australian who claims, with proofs that Russell cannot deny, that he is her landlady’s son. After this shocking confrontation at the Holmes farm in Sussex, Russell disappears, leaving behind a knife and a trail of blood—and one crucial object that offers Holmes a clue to the intruder’s identity.

Mrs. Hudson and Holmes fear for her life, and Holmes sets off on a desperate hunt to discover more about the man he has identified as Samuel Hudson. Tracing the man and his travels brings to the surface all of Holmes’ past history with the woman who would become his landlady, and delves into the exciting back story of her youth, enlivened by her scoundrel of a father and his maritime adventures, as well as a murder that will change both her future and that of Holmes.

Readers, as well as a shocked Russell, will soon have to re-evaluate everything they ever thought they knew about the housekeeper and her relationship to the famous detective, and Russell will be forced to revisit all her underlying knowledge and affection for the woman who has become such an integral part of her life.

Of course we know to take the book’s title with more than a grain of salt. But once you’ve bought into King’s fancies about this ever-growing stable of uncommon characters, get set for more adventures, ones that Conan Doyle surely never envisioned in his wildest dreams.

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The Murder of Mary Russell

The Murder of Mary Russell

By Laurie R. King
Bantam
ISBN 9780804177900

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