Laurie R. King – A Letter of Mary
Read By: Jenny Sterlin
Length: 10h 32min (355 pages)
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Started: 15 June 2016
Finished: 21 June 2016
Where did it come from? Audible.
Why do I have it? I really enjoyed the first two books in the series.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 02 April 2016.
A letter from the
time of Christ may change the world…
or lead to murder.
Summary: Settling into married domestic life is proving a little challenging for Mary Russell – it’s not a lifestyle that she’s particularly used to, and she definitely senses that her husband, the great Sherlock Holmes, is getting a little bored with the lack of intellectual stimulation. So when an old friend of Mary’s comes to visit, bringing with her something extraordinary, both Russell and Holmes perk up. Dorothy Ruskin is an archaeologist working in Palestine – interesting enough, but she’s also a woman. She also claims to have found something fascinating: a letter from Mary Magdalene to her sister Rachel, referring to herself as a disciple of Jesus. The experts have already dismissed the letter, but she turns it over to Mary, knowing what an impact such a finding could have on the church if it were verified as authentic. This puzzle enough might have been enough to keep Mary interested, and maybe even Holmes as well, but the very next day they learn that Miss Ruskin has been killed in a traffic accident in London. Now up to the pair of them to determine whether it really was an accident, or if something more sinister is afoot – and if it was murder, who could have been behind it, and did they want Miss Ruskin’s silence, or something else?
Review: Oh goodness, I am enjoying the heck out of this series. The premise for this one is fantastic – I love the idea of an early feminist shake-up of the foundations of the Christian church, and the letter provides a good variety of plausible suspects – was it something to do with the church? Was it to do with Miss Ruskin’ss archaeological work, or the fact that she was a woman? Was it something else entirely? The clues in this story were doled out at the perfect pace, and I figured out a few things at the same time as the characters do, which always makes me feel smart. There was also some nice character development in this story, especially of Mary, and especially following her involvement with the church of bluestockings in the previous installment. The solution to the mystery, although entirely appropriate, was a little disappointing, but even that didn’t really bother me, I was enjoying the ride so much. I like Jenny Sterlin’s narration, although it’s a touch slow, but at 1.25x speed (hooray for the Audible app!) it’s just about perfect. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: This series is fantastic, great for anyone who likes Sherlock Holmes and feminism. Each of the books works fairly independently, but there is some slow build on the characters that I think it’s worth reading them in order.
First Line: The envelope slapped down onto the desk ten inches from my much-abused eyes, instantly obscuring the black lines of Hebrew letters that had begun to quiver an hour before.
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