Laurie R. King illuminates the hidden corners of her beloved Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series in this dynamic short story collection.
In nine previously published short stories and one brand-new, never-before-seen Sherlock Holmes mystery—available together for the first time—Laurie R. King blends her long-running brand of crime fiction with historical treats and narrative sleight of hand. At the heart of the collection is a prequel novella that begins with England’s declaration of war in 1914. As told in Mary Russell’s teenage diaries, the whip-smart girl investigates familial mysteries, tracks German spies through San Francisco, and generally delights with her extraordinary mind—until an unimaginable tragedy strikes.
Here too is the case of a professor killed by a swarm of bees; Mrs. Hudson’s investigation of a string of disappearing household items—and a lifelong secret; a revealing anecdote about a character integral to The God of the Hive; the story of Mary’s beloved Uncle Jake and a monumental hand of cards; and a series of postcards in which Mary searches for her missing husband, Sherlock Holmes.
Last but not least, fans will be especially thrilled by Mary’s account of her decision, at age ninety-two, to publish her memoirs—and how she concluded that Ms. King should be the one to introduce her voice to the world.
Praise for Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell mysteries
“The most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”—Lee Child
“The great marvel of King’s series is that she’s managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes’s character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart.”—The Washington Post Book World
“A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company.”—The New York Times
“Erudite, fascinating . . . by all odds the most successful re-creation of the famous inhabitant of 221B Baker Street ever attempted.”—Houston Chronicle
“An engaging romp guaranteed to please . . . perfectly written in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”—USA Today, on Pirate King
“Mesmerizing—another wonderful novel etched by the hand of a master storyteller. No reader who opens this one will be disappointed.”—Michael Connelly, on The God of the Hive
“Historical fiction doesn’t get any better than this.”—The Denver Post, on The Game
Fans of King's Mary Russell novels, which starting with 1994's The Beekeeper's Apprentice chart her relationship with Sherlock Holmes, will welcome this collection, which includes extracts from the novels, short stories, and the diary that Mary kept as a teen during WWI. Readers will learn about Mary's wily Uncle Jake, Holmes's marriage proposal, the couple's eccentric wedding, and Mycroft Holmes's political activities. The one selection original to this volume, "Stately Holmes," is a Christmas tale, complete with a gaggle of children. The heart of the book, however, is Mary's wartime diary, punctuated by headlines announcing war casualties and zeppelin attacks and interspersed with Mary's not always kind assessment of the periodical installments of The Valley of Fear, the last Holmes novel. The text is richly illustrated with period photos. Admirers of Mary Russell will be pleased with what amounts to an autobiography of her early years, but those expecting the "suspense" promised in the subtitle may feel misled.
Mary Russell shines in the short form as she has in the longer.
I had read a couple of the short stories in this collection before I purchased Mary Russell's War. I had also read all of the novels. What more could I learn about Mary Russell? The answer: a great deal. From the first story, Mary Russell's Christmas, to the last, Stately Holmes, there was new information about this fascinating woman and her slightly better known mentor, partner, husband, Sherlock Holmes. References to the many Laurie King books I've read, and a few stories from that Conan Doyle fellow, brought a familiarity to each story in this set that made me instantly comfortable with returning friends. Laurie King shares Mary's stories as faithfully as Conan Doyle did Watson's. There is a truth and consistency here that brings every person, place, and era to life.