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A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King

A Letter of Mary (1996)

by Laurie R. King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mary Russell (3)

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The third of the Mary Russel and Sherlock Holmes series. The series is sort of mindless fun. After reading three in this series and one from her contemporary Kate Maatinelli series, I see more and more of the author's somewhat radical feminist perspective. In this one, the "letter" is a discovered parchment from the time of Jesus which, if released, would turn the patriarchy of the Church on its head. Interesting. I will keep reading the series as breaks from more serious choices. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
trite and as bad as the last one, I shall probably not bother continuing the series.

A friend fleeting mentioned in the first book, calls to visit and leaves Mary with an ornate box containing a letter from the previously unknown as a disciple Mary of Magdalene. Shortly after the friend dies and Holmes' immediately spots that it could have been murder - this is the only interesting bit of the whole book as we get a bit of deductive reasoning and some banter with the young LestradeII. There are a few possibilities of perpetrators but rather than try and be clever about it they just brute force a solution by watching all of them. Which is dull.

The original religious pamphlet bears no influence on the plot and is only there as I presume another step in the road to King attempting to convert SH. I shall read no more as they are irritating rather than enjoyable, but a shame because the first was so good. ( )
  reading_fox | May 5, 2015 |
this series by laurie king is enjoyably escapist. so far, the first three books in the series have provided nice, diversionary reading time. i am hoping that, in future books, king further explores the nature of the relationship between russell and holmes, because in this third book their relationship has become quite a 'yeah... but!?!' for me. sherlock holmes and mary russell have gone from a tutor-guardian/apprentice relationship to now one of husband and wife. with mary russell's sad past and loss of her own family, it's hard to not think about holmes being more of a father-figure for russell. while the affections and respect holmes and russell have for each other, are evident there are moments when i feel a bit creeped out by the idea of a romantic partnership between the 23yo russell and 50+yo holmes. (even keeping in mind the times these stories are set.) but i like that king has given us a strong female character in mary, and supportive and progressive attitudes from holmes concerning what is or is not appropriate for women. i was bummed watson had only the briefest of appearances in this third book. mrs. hudson was fairly absent too. i find king's portrayal of each of these characters very entertaining. ( )
  Booktrovert | Apr 23, 2015 |
A Letter of Mary opens with Holmes and Mary enjoying a quiet day at home when archeologist Dorothy Ruskin, an old friend, suddenly appears at their door. In England for a short time on business, Dorothy has stopped by primarily to give Mary an ancient manuscript that, if proven real, would cause a serious biblical ruckus. A few days later, Mary and Holmes receive word that Dorothy has died in a hit and run accident. Suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her death, Mary and Holmes set out on an investigation that leads them to believe Dorothy's death was per-meditated murder. Soon the investigation leads to them going separate ways while they work undercover inspecting their two main suspects.

This installment was good, but definitely my least favorite out of the Mary Russell series so far. I find the stories that focus primarily on religion bore me. Since a major portion of this one's plot revolved around an item with possible biblical roots, I ended up extremely bored at times. It also doesn't help that Mary tends to nerd-out on religious theory.

Also, I wasn't into the undercover bit of this plot. Mary's work while incognito just seemed really... useless. I didn't understand her fear of becoming too much like the person she was pretending to be. Mostly because the woman Mary was impersonating was so opposite to who she actually is, that I didn't believe she would have a real fear of keeping herself separate. In addition, I couldn't comprehend her attraction to the man she was investigating. It's made clear that the person she was pretending to be would be attracted to him, but seriously? The guy was a misogynist douche and Mary noted being put-off by a lot of what he said and did, so I just didn't get her turmoil. However, the resolution of Mary coming to terms with what she felt while undercover was nicely done.

The other issue I had with this book came from feeling a little cheated at how much of the main mystery happened off page. I understand what King was trying to do by having it play out this way, but I didn't derive the same thrill from the "who did it" revelation at the end.

From this review, it sounds like I didn't like A Letter of Mary at all, but I did enjoy it. There's something comforting about King's writing and her characters are always entertaining. I just didn't click very well with the main plot of this book. All in all, it was a good addition to the series, but not one that I'll be revisiting anytime soon. ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
Audiobook. This one didn't engage me quite as much as the first two, but I'm still enjoying the series and look forward to more!
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Laurie R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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... I would terrify you by letters. (The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians 10:9)
For my brother Leahcim Drawde Nosdrahcir and his family, from his sister Eiraul Eel.
First words
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553577808, Mass Market Paperback)

Sherlock Holmes and his scholarly companion Mary Russell are caught up in an exciting mystery when an archaeologist leaves them with a treasured find, a papyrus supposedly written by Mary Magdalene. When the archaeoligist winds up dead and someone attempts to make off with the artifact, Holmes and Russel become embroiled in a rollicking story filled with political intrigue and highbrow sleuthing. The level of writing hasn't been higher in this Laurie King series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:22 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Late in the summer of 1923, Mary Russell Holmes and her husband, the illustrious Sherlock Holmes, are ensconced in their home on the Sussex Downs, giving themselves over to their studies: Russell to her theology, and Holmes to his malodorous chemical experiments. Interrupting the idyllic scene, amateur archaeologist Miss Dorothy Ruskin visits with a startling puzzle. Working in the Holy Land, she has unearthed a tattered roll of papyrus with a message from Mary Magdalene. Miss Ruskin wants Russell to safeguard the letter. But when Miss Ruskin is killed in a traffic accident, Russell and Holmes find themselves on the trail of a fiendishly clever murderer. Clearly there was more to Miss Ruskin than met the eye. But why was she murdered? Was it her involvement in the volatile politics of the Holy Land? Was it her championing of women's rights? Or was it the scroll--a deeply troubling letter that could prove to be a Biblical bombshell? In either case, Russell and Holmes soon find that solving her murder may be murder itself.… (more)

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