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O Jerusalem (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #5)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  12,729 Ratings  ·  626 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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Burial Rites by Hannah KentSchindler's List by Thomas KeneallyThe Metamorphosis by Franz KafkaFever by Mary Beth KeaneAnybody Out There? by Marian Keyes
Author Last Name Starts With K
146th out of 228 books — 8 voters
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. KingThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferEastland by Marian Manseau CheathamRisking Exposure by Jeanne MoranThe Reason for Time by Mary    Burns
20th Century Historical Novels
35th out of 39 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 11, 2009 Anika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 25, 2011 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
O Jerusalem takes us back in time to the first book when Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes had to flee England because of the danger they were in. The country they chose, or rather Mary chose, was Palestine.

This is the first book in the series that I didn’t quite like as much as the previous four books. That doesn’t mean that the book isn’t good. Just that it took some rereads to make me really appreciate the book. Now it’s a good book for me, and I wouldn’t mind re-read, but I was a bit disappo
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Sep 26, 2011 Kam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
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
Jan 31, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2008 WK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lrk
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!
Compared to The Moor, this was highly enjoyable and a very good mystery. Even compared to the last few books I've read in this series, the mystery was very tight and didn't feel random at all. Again, this is compared to the rest of the books in the series. I've never had a Mary Russell mystery/story that I've hated. They're always fun since I enjoy King's characterization of Holmes and any other character we come across.

However, as the series goes on, I find myself getting annoyed by Mary Russel
Oct 20, 2016 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fifth book. In the Sherlock Holmes-Mary Russel series, although it takes place in an earlier time period than the last one--1918.
Sherlock and Mary are forced to flee England and choose British-occupied Palestine as their escape. Their trip coincides with a series of unsolved murders which exacerbates tensions between the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian populations in the city. Unlike the previous four books in this series, there was very little detective work or character development
Nov 30, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 12, 2012 Minh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Apr 16, 2016 Judie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following a bombing in 1918, Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell fled England to British-occupied Palestine under auspices of Mycroft. Disguised as Bedouins and working with two Arab brothers, Ali and Mahmoud Hazr, they became part of mission for His Majesty’s government trying to solve several murders of British agents.
They were led on a trip criss-crossing the mostly barren land. While Jews and Arabs had coexisted without severe problems, the Arabs were apprehensive of what would happen follow
I'm finding this series to be a hit or miss with me. Unfortunately, this one falls under the 'miss' category and I stopped listening to it halfway through. Don't ask me what the story was about - I couldn't even tell. Between long stretches of tedious conversation and actions, the only clue I got was that Mycroft sent Holmes on some secret mission. Oh, and there was a murder but that didn't seem to go anywhere.

If this was a travelogue of Russell and Holmes' travels abroad, it was really good. Th
Joe Slavinsky
Jan 24, 2016 Joe Slavinsky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurie King's "Mary Russell" series is really growing on me. I love the premise that King is passing along manuscripts that mysteriously showed up at her home, with no explanation. Each book seems able to stand alone, as the stories, so far, have been quite different from one another, although IMHO, it's better to read them in chronological order, to get a feel for continuity, and character development. This one takes place in Israel, shortly after the British wrested control of the area from Tu ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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)
May 02, 2012 Carl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jan 10, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, kindle

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
Oct 21, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2009 Allan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2011 Cat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 28, 2013 Steven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, 2013-read
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.

Jun 20, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was a fantastic read! I enjoyed it from start to finish! My only wish would be that they had explained the how's and whys of the bad guys at the end. I know, I know, I watch too many simplistic mystery shows that explain everything. Anyway, it was well written and well paced and I loved the character development. King is a great writer!
King writes well but this book, though interesting, was much longer than my tolerance. The daring deeds lack believability and poor Holms is transformed from a humorous genius to a super hero.
May 09, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Morris Nelms
Feb 08, 2016 Morris Nelms rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great fun. I also learned a lot about Israel and WWI. King does a fine job of recreating Holmes, and Russell is a great foil for Sherlock.
Apr 23, 2016 LuAnn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the plots are sometimes thin, as is this one, I find still the Mary Russell books compelling because the characters are fascinating and the settings are realistically drawn and Mary Russell's voice is unique and strong. By half-way through this book, which consists mostly of Russell, Holmes and two “Arabs” of dubious origins trudging through the desert, I was reminded of Frodo, Sam and Golum’s seemingly endless trudge through Mordor in The Two Towers—and how bored I was by it. At least ...more
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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
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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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