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O Jerusalem (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #5)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  11,450 ratings  ·  561 reviews
With her bestselling mystery series featuring Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, Laurie R. King has created "lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company," according to "The New York Times Book Review." Now the author of The Beekeeper's Apprentice and The Moor--the first writer since Patricia Cornwell to win both the American Edgar and British Creasey Awards fo ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Bantam (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

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I started reading this series loving them, but I have to say they are getting more and more disappointing. The characters are still the highlight, but King is having a worse and worse time with plots - this one felt so unresolved that I literally checked to see if there had been pages ripped out to explain what had just happened. I did like the descriptions of Palestine and the nomadic life of Holmes and Russell, but King's attention seemed to be so focused on that that the mystery element total ...more
Louise Chambers
What I'm beginning to learn about this series is that, while King has based these books on Sherlock Holmes, the series itself is in Mary Russell's voice and is about her.
This may be why, in reading some reviews of this book, and some others in the series, that some readers may be disappointed, or even perhaps peeved, that these books do not echo Conan Doyle's writing and plotting style, and indeed, do not use Holmes' voice to drive the story along.
Why is this a good thing? Because we can see, t
This was a bit difficult to get into initially, because the setting - both time and place - are pretty foreign to me. I'm very ill-educated on the struggles that have been going on in the Middle East in general and Jerusalem specifically for thousands of years, and I'm aware of it.

However, King did her best to help me out with information about the language and a map of Jerusalem at the front. Russell helped me out in her narrative, being specific about the rules she was and was not following an
Joyce Lagow
Fifth in order of publication in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, the story line actually fits into the latter part of the debut novel in the series, The Beekeeper s Apprentice.[return][return]Holmes and the 19 year old Russell have fled for their lives from England to British-occupied Palestine, where in addition to buying time in order to deal with a lethal criminal genius, Holmes and Russell will also look into a little matter for Sherlock s brother, Mycroft, who holds a powerful but ...more
Getting through a series of novels with more than three or four books can be, in many ways, rather tedious. It is entirely easy to simply lose interest in the whole thing if the individual novels are unable to sustain interest, or the reader simply lacks the stamina to see the whole thing through from beginning to end.

Although I do have a personal reading policy about finishing any series I start if I like the first book, I will admit that there are difficulties in seeing this through, especial
Man. I reaaaaly had to slog through this one. I mean, REALLY. I think the last 25 pages or so I just barely skimmed, just enough to get the point so that I wouldn't feel like I'd totally wasted my time. This was definitely my least favorite of the Russell/Holmes series so far. Clearly sort of an excuse for King to get all her religious knowledge across and cram everything about the Middle East into as many pages as possible. It ended up being sort of painful to get through.

I would actually reco
In the middle of "The Beekeeper’s Apprentice" Russell and Holmes leave England for a bit to get a breather from the relentless pursuit of there cunning opponent and agree to do a favor for Mycroft during their travels. This launches them into the world of international intrigue and the hands of the Hazr ‘brothers’. Two hard edged, unaccommodating ‘allies’?
Then there’s the walk with Russell and Holms on the path of the Good Samaritan, amazing!
Excellent. Once again Laurie King creates the sense of "being there". In this case, "there" is Palestine in 1919. Not only does she seem to get the history right, but also the geography, the sociology and the feel and smell of the Middle east.

Another good tale, well told.
Betsy Housten
I always want to support writers' experiments, especially when they take risks and do something radically different from their established patterns, but in this case it fell very flat for me. Besides the departure from chronological order that annoyed many other reviewers, this book included way too much historical, geographical, and culturally-related narrative, and not nearly enough mystery and deductions, for my tastes. At times I would have put it down had I not been on vacation with nothing ...more
I wondered for a long time if I would ever come back to the Mary Russell series, they're a visual pleasure to read and the prose (if somewhat of a 1920's kickback with the ridiculousness of the run-on sentences) makes me want to roll around with contemplation and maybe go back for a second read.

The series placing of this novel is a strange one, despite being labeled the 5th in the series, chronologically it actually occurs just after the first book returning us to the relationship of the buddin
Actually, it's more like 2.5 stars, since Good Reads refuses to do that half star thing.

Mary Russell has officially plunged into the deep end of Mary Sue with the (view spoiler)
"O Jerusalem" is Laurie King's fifth book in her Holmes-Russell series; however, time wise it takes us back to the plot and time period of her first book "The Beekeeper's Apprentice." It's 1918. Nineteen-year-old Mary and her fifty-something mentor (Holmes) are forced to flee England to escape a deadly adversary. Sherlock's well-connected brother Mycroft sends them on a mission to Palestine. Here, a series of murders threatens the fragile peace. Disguised as itinerant Muslims and paired with two ...more

This is the fifth novel in the Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell series, even though the narrative takes place within the time frame of The Beekeeper's Apprentice, the first novel in the series.

I continue to enjoy this series very much. In this novel, as always, King creates a wonderful sense of time and place. Here, the time is 1919 and the place is Palestine, newly under British mandate after the defeat of its long-time Ottoman Turk rulers. King’s description of the locations in the novel is e
O Jerusalem is the first Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel I have read. I think that it was a good choice considering that although it is the fifth in the series, chronologically it follows the Bee Keepers Apprentice which is the first in the series. I had no other books in the series to compare it too so from that point of view I have to remark that I really enjoyed this story. Mary Russell is a wonderful character, full of life, intelligence and courage. I love how King envisions her relation ...more
Just scrumptuous. I read this as the last of the (so far) 8 Mary Russell novels and believe it to be the best...right ahead of "Justice Hall." That both books feature the same two subsidiary characters may be to blame.

I really enjoyed the interplay between Russell, Holmes, Ali and Mahmoud as they slip around post-WWI Palestine. The latter two remind me of John Buchan's Sandy Arbuthnot in many ways and all feature similarities to the very real T. E. Lawrence.

The book actually has a snap of an e
There is truly nothing wrong with this book, which makes my two star rating rather unfair. Laurie King has a great sense of the geography of Jerusalem and its history, and she communicates the politics of Palestine in the early twentieth century without too heavy a hand. But this book convinced me that I eventually don't like books in a series without an ongoing plot arc or strong character development. While series reading rewards my investment when the characters change and evolve, mystery ser ...more
Hovering between 4 and 5 stars for this one ... 4.5, really, and very close to rounding it up to five, but in the end I think it's a smidgen closer to the Goodreads rating of "I really liked it" than to "it was amazing".

Anyway, I really did enjoy this much more fleshed-out return to the Palestine & Jerusalem visit barely touched on in the very first book in this series, both because it was an excellent mixture of adventure and mystery, and because I loved getting another glimpse of Holmes an
The writing was adequate but the story was fair at best. One of the main characters is supposed to be Sherlock Holmes. In the first of this series, there is an explanation why the Sherlock Holmes in this series differs from Conan Doyle's Holmes. This is unacceptable. If you change the character of Sherlock Holmes as written by the original author, then you are using the name of a character for commercial purposes only since this is not the character the original author intended or the audience e ...more
Ann aka Iftcan
In this, the fifth book of the Holmes/Russell series, we go back in time to fill in a gap in the first book (The Beekeeper's Apprentice) with the adventures of Holmes and Russell in the Holy Land. Lots of derring do, disguises and wandering around, keeping in character. A fairly good yarn, even if the bad guy isn't discovered until late in the book. I certainly didn't figure out who he was until the denoument, at any rate, and normally I know "whodunit" by the middle of a book at the latest.

Very much enjoyed this book. I was able to whole-heartedly embrace the story as this is a story told out of order and goes back in time prior to the physical relationship between Holmes and Russell which I tolerate as an unbelievable side note in otherwise well written and conceived stories. The setting was, once again, completely different and I like seeing the characters interact in vastly different settings. The humor of Russell running around as an Arab boy for the majority of the book was w ...more
Tom Williams
There are a lot of homages to Sherlock Holmes, but King's books are particularly enjoyable and have been well received. 'O Jerusalem', though, lets the series down. To start with, Holmes and Russell are in the Holy Land on some mysterious mission. They don't know what it is: they are at the command of two mysterious Arabs and they follow them in growing confusion, as does the reader. It should be King's chance to show off her knowledge of Palestine just after the Great War, but the descriptions ...more
Oct 14, 2015 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Renita D'Silva
Recommended to Judy by: M.R. Graham
This story takes us back to the first Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes book, and richly expands on their time spent in Palestine. Deeply descriptive with a well-crafted plot and quite colourful characters and surroundings,a magnificent tale of treachery and deception. So much historical reference, I absolutely loved this book!
O poor Mary Russell. I wish someone would feed her a decent meal every now and then. The number of times she went hungry in this story and in previous stories was beginning to make me feel sorry for her. That aside, I enjoyed this romp with Mary and Holmes through the Middle East. It is, like the others, very atmospheric, even for someone who has never visited or with no first hand experience of that region. It was fascinating for that reason, I learned a lot, even from a fictional point of view ...more
O Jerusalem took me awhile to involve myself into the storyline. The author admits that the relationship between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes is out of sequence with the previous novel. She takes though that the story sequence is more correct. The premise through me off sync with the previous novel. Laurie King has a rich background in Old Testament studies. Her knowledge of the Holy Land, its geography and history shine forth in this novel. In many ways this is a historical novel with Holme ...more
In which Sherlock stumbles into something of a mystery, and Mary primarily sends the book learning the language and dressed up as a boy going by the name Amir. They, in company with two men, Ali and Mahmoud crisscrossing the country of Palestine in search or understanding, answers. If I read Sherlock's hint about Ali and Mahmoud, not only were they formally British, perhaps they are lovers masquerading as Bedouins and brothers.

Hinting, perhaps, to Sherlock's own budding return feelings for Mary
Really disappointing. I couldn't even finish it. The series started out well, but has gotten increasing shallow and without much storyline. The language and writing are great, but this one really lacks any kind of story to pull you through it. I was about half-way through it and realized up to that point they'd just been wandering around in the desert the whole time (indeed one of the characters confirmed that they'd been leading Sherlock and Mary around for the hell of it) with nothing much had ...more
This is my other favorite Mary Russell and it properly comes in the middle of The Beekeepers Apprentice. (They leave UK in that book, and this is what happens while they are gone.) I love the depiction of the land and the early relationship between Holmes and Russell. I also think the two other main characters--Ali and Mohammed I think?--are intriguing. The descriptions of place and time are also strong. Comfort reading--I've read it quite a few times so don't have to pay a lot of attention and ...more
I was very much interested in the history, geography, and religious lessons, the continuing of Holmes' and Russell's story lines, and the plot itself. What I do not care for is the abrupt ending; offenders discovered and dealt with in the last two chapters without an explanation as to why they did what they did. I believe I will keep reading this series while hoping the next books will tie everything nicely together. If not, I will probably keep reading anyway. King is worth the (many!) unanswer ...more
Cathy Cole
Since I'm reading these books in order, I remember Mary Russell telling readers that she and Holmes had spent an extended period of time in Palestine, and O Jerusalem fills in the details. This fifth book in the series did a lot more than advance the story of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. For me, it helped to fill a large historical gap from the time of the Romans until 1948-- and it did so with style. In fact I didn't realize that the mystery didn't really begin until about halfway through ...more
This is an excellent addition to the series! Chronologically it takes place during the end of book one. I read it after book two, and I'm glad I went back to it. This story is more a typical mystery/adventure than the previous books, being a very linear tale of their time in Palestine tracking down a possible spy. There were no long digressions about theology, women's rights, or any of the other things the previous books had. Just solid story. (I liked the digressions, but I liked this, too.)

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Laurie R. King Vi...: O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King - VBC September 2012 97 113 Jan 12, 2013 02:41PM  
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Edgar-winning mystery writer Laurie R. King writes series and standalone novels. Her official forum is
THE LRK VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB here on Goodreads--please join us for book-discussing fun.

King's most recent novel, Dreaming Spies, sees Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel from Japan to Oxford, in a case with international players and personal meaning. The Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series foll
More about Laurie R. King...

Other Books in the Series

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1)
  • A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell, #2)
  • A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell, #3)
  • The Moor (Mary Russell, #4)
  • Justice Hall (Mary Russell, #6)
  • The Game (Mary Russell, #7)
  • Locked Rooms (Mary Russell, #8)
  • The Language of Bees (Mary Russell, #9)
  • The God of the Hive (Mary Russell, #10)
  • Pirate King (Mary Russell, #11)

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