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The Art of Detection (Kate Martinelli, #5)
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The Art of Detection (Kate Martinelli #5)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  3,205 ratings  ·  318 reviews
Kate Martinelli investigates when Philip Gilbert, a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, is found murdered. In Gilbert's priceless collection of Holmes' memorabilia was a century-old manuscript, purportedly written by Holmes himself, which eerily echoes details of his own murder.
Paperback, 389 pages
Published by Poisoned Pen, (first published January 1st 2006)
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Laurie R. King writes two mystery series. One revolves around Kate Martinelli, a lesbian inspector of police in San Francisco. (I mention her sexual orientation not because it makes any difference to me, but because the author makes such a big deal of it.)

The second requires the reader to swallow the notion that Sherlock Holmes lived on well into the twentieth century, took as an apprentice a fifteen-year-old girl, Mary Russell. Holmes eventually marries Russell who is 46 years his junior. Desp
So this is sort of a Holmes pastiche, sort of not. And before I go any further: it's not really any good, but the pastiche elements themselves are definitely worth checking out.

It's set within King's non-Holmes series and essentially attempts to bring her Holmesian readers over with the promise of, well, basically a crossover. I've not read any of the prior material, though thankfully that didn't matter; as I understand it, there was a very long gap between this and the previous book, so we get
Laurie R King can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes, and this book only served to confirm that, cleverly weaving her turn of the millennium Kate Martinelli series with her early 20th century Mary Russell series. Kate is investigating a present-day homicide, but the victim was an avid scholar and collector of anything Sherlock Holmes-related. In his collection is a century-old manuscript purportedly written by Holmes himself; a manuscript that eerily echoes details of Gilbert's own murder.

This e
I read this book after reading "the Beekeeper's Apprentice", also by Laurie King. She writes two series - one a Sherlock Holmes series and another a present day San Francisco detective series. This book is of the San Francisco ilk, but involves the murder of a man obsessed with Sherlock Holmes.

I didn't really like the book too much. Good things were that it was readable and the descriptions of San Francisco were vivid. On the bad side, despite being sherlockian, the plot left a lot to be desired
The Art of Detection is billed as the coming together of the Martinelli series with the Russell/Holmes series; Martinelli is assigned to solve the murder of a Holmes fanatic who has apparently discovered a new Holmes story, written in the first person (and for fans of the Russell series, clearly taking place around the time of Locked Rooms). This was a bit of a disappointment; the action is somewhat plodding and the characters not as fully realized as in previous books, though the exploration of ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
I don't know how it happened, but I have read two books in a row in which the gay/lesbian secondary theme in the book has been heavy handed and off putting. I am getting very tired of it. The detective, Kate Martinelli has her perfect little lesbian family with her partner's all too perfect and wise 3 year old child. About half the book is devoted to these side issues and, predictably, all the gays are wonderful, misunderstood, and discriminated against and the rest of the characters are either ...more
Joyce Lagow
In this, the fifth in the Kate Martinelli series, King connects that series, set in present-cay San Francisco, with her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series.

Devotees of the Conan Doyle stories of Sherlock Holmes form clubs or societies, where members dress in period costumes and meet for various social occasions. Some go to extreme lengths in what becomes nearly full-time role-playing. Philip Gilbert was one such. When he is found murdered in an old gun emplacement on the Marin headlands, Martin
According to my list here I have not read a book by Laurie R. King since I started keeping track here. That is unforgivable. Not only is King one of my favorite authors, but her Kate Martinelli series is just so good. I suspect that the Mary Russell series is more beloved by most, but Martinelli's stories are just so well plotted and so riveting. They are my favorite of King's books.

The Art of Detection is no exception. I kept looking for reasons to get in my car so I would have more time with K
No art in detection here, more like the tedium of detection. Too long and too many dead ends that could have been shortened. The short story within the story was actually more enjoyable. Plot just dragged on and on with little action and the ending was a bit of a surprise. However,by then you just wanted it to end and didn't care what happened. Won't be reading anymore of this series. The last chapter(after the case is wrapped up) about Kate getting officially married was irrelevant and not nece ...more
Once you get past the author's bigotry and racism, you have a fascinating situation that should appeal to fans of mysteries in general and Sherlock Holmes in particular. But some readers may not make it that far, seeing as how King's prejudices are put forward so forcibly in the beginning of the book, before the elements of the case have had a chance to take hold of the reader, and some may give up after they determine that the mystery which they had hoped would dominate the plot always has to t ...more
Curt Buchmeier
I'm glad that's over. This was neither mystery nor crime fiction. The whodunnit was pretty much a vehicle(& a broken-down one at that)for the author's real story; the personal life & relationship of the protagonist, Kate Martinelli, a San Francisco homicide detective who happens to be a lesbian. First I've ever read of Laurie R King. Apparently, this particular book ties two of her best-selling series' together. Having read all AC Doyle's Holmes stories many times over the years, I was d ...more
Someone killed a man and put his body way up on the Marin headlands in an old gun emplacement. Said dead man was in his pajamas with clean feet. So who put him there?
As they investigate they find out he is a Sherlockian, one of the people who are invested in Sherlock Holmes; as a collector or in re-enactments, that sort of thing. He belongs to a group of these people and they seem to be his only friends although no one is really close to him.
But someone had motivation to kill him. Who was it?
This one was pretty good, a bit better than the others. However, I wish the GoodReads scoring system was on a 1-10 basis so that I could more accurately rate it according to my taste.

I read the first three books in this series and skipped right to number 5, having jumped about twelve years in the characters' lives, during which time a lot of changes have been made - all in all, these changes were all a little "goody-two-shoes" (or is that goody-too-shoes?) for me.

Anyway, the gist of the story co
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I quite liked it. I haven't read the Kate Martinelli series before. I've been reading the Marry Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. A footnote in the latest Mary Russell one indicated I'd better read this first (didn't realize then it wasn't a Mary Russell) & so trotted back to the library to get it & read it today/tonight (it's 2:30 AM because I was reading in a room without a clock). I really like the Martinelli character storyline as well as the interplay of the Holmes story. I loved the ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rebecca by:
Shelves: glbt, mystery, historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I thought The Art of Detection was very patchy. The investigation of the murder of the Holmes fan is interesting, and I enjoyed that, but the insertion of the 100 page document purportedly written by Arthur Conan Doyle really seemed out of place. It wasn't necessary to include the entire document, and it didn't seem very much in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle, for all that Laurie King has clearly done her research (other readers who are fans of Sherlock Holmes may disagree, of course). The deta ...more
Although written as a bridge novel between her two detective series, this ended up as a jarring and unsatisfying read. The style of writing, the topics covered, the focus of character development, and even the very weak attempt to link the heroines through time using a Holmes manuscript (since fans of the Mary Russell series would see it written in Holmes's not Doyle's hand) all highlight that this is simply two separate stories. As a fan of the Mary Russell series, I enjoyed the short story abo ...more
I read this so I could continue the Sherlock Holmes story set in San Francisco from the previous Mary Russell novel. I'm not much for modern setting detective novels, but because it is Laurie King, it was interesting. The Sherlock Holmes sections being my favorite, not necessarily the Kate Martinelli portions. If you haven't read any of the Mary Russell novels, just forget this review and go get reading!
Laurie R. King's "The Art of Detection" is the fifth in the Martinelli Detective series set in modern San Francisco. If you have not read any of this series, my first recommendation is to read the first first!! The series begins with the novel "A Grave Talent," which has masterfully a crafted plot and brilliant characterization; although the whole series is good, "A Grave Talent" is the best. "The Art of Detection" is still a good read, but it does read a bit slower than the others. This one has ...more
This is probably my favorite of the Martinelli books, even though I found the prose/plot a bit hard to follow towards the end. I enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes tie-in, and the little insider sense of knowing that Sherlock Holmes is "real," given the premise of the Mary Russell series. Plus, the plot had a classic Arthur Conan Doyle feel to it (even more so than the Russell books) (view spoiler).

This probably wouldn't
Laurie R. King is, I think, better known for her Mary Russell series featuring Sherlock Holmes. Holmes appears, in a way, in this book, part of her earlier Kate Martinelli series about a San Francisco police detective. When the body of a consummate Holmes collector and re-enactor is found in a disused gun emplacement, there are many avenues for Martinelli and her partner Al to explore, including what may be a lost Holmes story. I found this book rather slow going at first but it may just have be ...more
Linda Hall
Excellent ! I wish there were more Kate Martinelli books!
I hadn't read any of the Kate Martinelli books before this particular title was selected for the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group at the library. I'm not sure that I'll go ahead and read any others, either. That's not to say that The Art of Detection was unenjoyable...I did like reading it. The dual mysteries in this book -- first, the investigation into who killed a Sherlock Holmes memorabilia dealer and hid his body in a gun battery outside of San Francisco, and second, the story ...more
While not to my benefit to read #5 before 2, 3 and 4, I didn't have the time at the library to sort thru the publication dates, so I went from the first Kate book to this one...from Lee being shot to aleady being up and walking and missed the having of the kiddo...but that;s ok........ I have read this series also, so will pick it up. Interestingly, this is the one where kate runs into the Holmes fanatic, who is murdered and a chunk of the book is a story that perhaps was written about holmes in ...more
I've read this book before, book five featuring Inspector Kate Martinelli. It is the only Martinelli book I've read, and I picked it up because it features Sherlock Holmes rather prominently.

The book fit nicely in the Russell-Holmes series just after the book "Locked Rooms." While "Art of Detection" is mostly about Martinelli's investigation into the death of a Sherlockian collector, the whole center section is devoted to a Holmes pastiche, a short story detailing Holmes' investigation into a m
For the most part, I thought this was great. It's the first book by this author I've read. I plunked down in the middle of a series, no notion of the characters, and was never once made to feel as though I was catching up on plot or people. If this does suffer from middle-book-syndrome, I couldn't tell. It didn't lag (mostly) and didn't spend too much time following the detective in her personal life rather than her professional life. I don't know a lot about Sherlock Holmes, and yet that was de ...more
I love Laurie King’s books and she continues to be one of my favorite authors. There is just so much there there. She writes two mystery series and several stand alones. After her last few books featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, it’s nice that she has returned again to her San Francisco lesbian detective Kate Martinelli. And yet turned it up a notch, as it were, by giving her a case that is steeped in Sherlockiana. The story revolves around the discovery of a possible new Holmes story ...more
This is my favorite Kate Martinelli detective story because I enjoy historical novels. This takes place in an ornate Victorian house in San Francisco dedicated to Sherlock Holmes. The first two stories are decorated to an exact copy of the descriptions given by Author Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock stories--complete with gas lights, Victorian furnishings, violin, gunshots that spell out the name of the queen, and tobacco-filled Persian slipper. Philip Gilbert, the owner, hosted dinner p ...more
Really liked this one. Started it on June 6th on my train ride from Austin to Chicago and finished it during my wait at Union Station waiting for my next train. This was such an inventive plot, mixing the Kate Martinelli mystery series and the Russell/Holmes series. It's both a continuation of Locked Rooms and another in the Martinelli series. I love its weaving in of the timely issue of same-sex marriage, showing it's not such a new idea, and I love that King gives us a Holmes who would not be ...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
More about Laurie R. King...

Other Books in the Series

Kate Martinelli (5 books)
  • A Grave Talent  (Kate Martinelli, #1)
  • To Play the Fool (Kate Martinelli, #2)
  • With Child (Kate Martinelli, #3)
  • Night Work (Kate Martinelli, #4)
The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1) A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell, #2) O Jerusalem (Mary Russell, #5) A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell, #3) The Language of Bees (Mary Russell, #9)

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