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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell, #2)

A Monstrous Regiment of Women - Laurie R. King,  Jenny Sterlin

What's fresh in my mind after listening to this book for weeks in the car:  Excellent narration.  Wonderful expository writing.  An almost-true depiction of Sherlock Holmes (almost).  A scene I disliked so much I FF'd through it; this is the flip-side of wonderful expository writing: a scene so well written I couldn't bear to listen to it.

 

Mary Russell unexpectedly finds herself a tutor to an extraordinary woman - the founder and preacher for London's "Temple of God".  Tutoring this woman in theology, Mary finds herself taken in and taken aback by the woman's charisma and uncomfortable about it.  When one of the "inner circle" meets a tragic end, Mary feels she must dig further, and in the process prove to Holmes that she is a worthy investigator in her own right.

 

I've only read the first two books, but I'd unhesitatingly recommend both to just about anyone.  I consider myself a rather rabid Sherlock Holmes purist, and I find these to be a worthy pastiche, though perhaps others may disagree.  A Monstrous Regiment of Women has a decidedly feminist tone that might put off male readers that would struggle to identify with women's rights, or lack thereof, in post WWI England, but the book is by no means man-hating.  I don't know if the feminism tone and theme is restricted to just this one story, or is woven throughout the series, but it wasn't too heavy handed or preachy.

 

I take exception to one thing mentioned in this book:

Sherlock Holmes does NOT have a son!  Ms. King also mentions later in the book Sherlock's one true love, Irene Adler, and claims that they had a grand love affair, until she ended it (leaving the reader to infer that she is the mother of this mysterious son).  Also nonsense!  I'll give on whether or not he loved her; there's enough ambiguity in A Scandal in Bohemia that an argument could be made.  But it's also VERY clear in the same short story that Irene married another man, that she loved and was very happy with him, and that she left London immediately with her new husband.  Pastiche away, but don't f*ck with Sherlock's history!

(show spoiler)

 

Overall, the plot is a good puzzle.  Is the Temple of God corrupt?  Is it's leader?  It's an engrossing tale and one that had me looking forward to driving in morning traffic.  That in itself might be the best compliment I can pay.

 

I'm looking forward to the next book, A Story of Mary.