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The Game (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #7)

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,698 Ratings  ·  529 Reviews
Laurie R. King’s bestselling mystery series featuring Mary Russell and her husband and partner, Sherlock Holmes, is beloved by readers and acclaimed by critics the world over. Now the illustrious duo returns for their most dangerous exploit yet, in a rich and atmospheric tale that takes them to India to save the life of one of literature’s most fabled heroes.

It’s the secon
Paperback, 439 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2004)
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1924. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes gets a New Year’s visit from Mycroft Holmes with a strange package from an English spy called Kimball O’Hara, more known as the Kim Kipling wrote about. He has withdrawn from the “Great Game” of espionage and disappeared. So Russell and Homes travels to India to search for the missing Kim.

I like this book very much, a missing spy, India and Mary Russell that has to disguise herself to save Sherlock Holmes. It's a wonderful entertainin
May 27, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the seventh novel in King’s Mary Russell series and one of my favourites so far. In this instalment, Sherlock Holmes and his wife and partner Mary Russell travel to India to look for Kimball O’Hara – the hero of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim. There is concern from on high that Kim, who has been missing for some three years, has either been captured or has turned traitor in the Great Game.

The conceit of the narrative is disarming. When Mary Russell, who only knows of Kim from reading Kipling, as
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is the seventh book in the Mary Russell series, which involve partnering Sherlock Holmes, professionally and romantically, with an unlikely female counterpart: and I love them--ever since I discovered one of the middle books in the series, A Letter of Mary. Well, this particular book is a twofer. As King states in her Author's Thanks, "The Game may be read as a humble and profoundly felt homage to Rudyard Kipling's Kim, one of the great novels of the English language. If you, the reader, do ...more
Madhulika Liddle
Jul 15, 2015 Madhulika Liddle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is 1924, and in England, Mycroft Holmes summons his brother Sherlock and Sherlock's wife, Mary Russell, to a meeting. Mycroft has a request on behalf of the government: go to India to find Kimball O'Hara, the Kim of Rudyard Kipling's book. No, not a fictional character, but a flesh-and-blood man who was part of British Intelligence in India for many years, and has been missing for three years. With a Bolshevik Russia making restless noises to the north and Indian hill rajas ever susceptible t ...more
I'm trying so hard to pace myself with these books, because I just don't want to risk getting tired before getting done, or exhausting the series too quickly, but, well, best laid plans and all that.

Anyway, this was another very enjoyable read. It did take me a bit to get into the right mindset this time - I'm not really sure why - and certain things, while absolutely understandable and reasonable in context of time period, class, necessity and so on and so forth do require a conscious decision
❂ Jennifer
An excellent, brilliantly written adventure story that starts off slow and picks up speed as it goes, but Big Trigger warning: animal cruelty/harm is a big part of this story. Had I known, I would have passed this book completely. If that doesn't bother you, there's not much else not to like about this book.

Full review:
Dec 22, 2008 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin Thomas
This seventh book of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series ranks as my second favorite so far (after the first of the series,The Beekeeper's Apprentice). This time around sees the couple off to British India in 1924 in search of the missing Kimball O’Hara. This is a very intriguing concept since Kimball O’Hara is better known to us as the fictional character “Kim” from Rudyard Kipling’s masterwork. To combine such prominent fictional British characters as Sherlock Holmes and Kim is ingenious a ...more
Dec 07, 2015 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funnily enough, last time I read a Mary Russell book set outside of England, I remarked that I preferred those that were set in England – I may have to eat my words. This is a rollicking caper set primarily in India that becomes more like a modern day thriller than a novel that contains Sherlock Holmes- yet this didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

The search for a missing spy is the tenuous starting point but the journey by boat to India, the learning of magician’s skills, the new friends and the
Jul 05, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How audacious of Laurie R. King - to reason that if Sherlock Holmes was actually a real person, then why couldn't Kim (of Kipling's book) also be a real person! Hence, the "Game" of this title refers to the "Great Game" of Victorian times. This book was a lot of fun.
Jun 11, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Another woman might have been cowed, but another woman was not Mary Russell"

I love this series.
Again, a brilliant idea, beautifully executed. To repeat myself yet again, I am generally disapproving when a writer plucks up another writer's characters and makes use of them. But that's largely because it's usually done so horribly badly, and is so rarely done with any respect for the original author, the characters, or the reader. Laurie R. King can do whatever she wants, take whatever characters or historical figures she likes, and bring them into her books in whatever manner she likes, bec ...more
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile

I was recently talking about this series with a friend of mine, and I told her how I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this series. Or, at least, love/ambivalence. Because I really like the idea of the stories, and I love the characters and their interactions... but they actual plots/mysteries have often been the weaker aspects of the books. I can deal with so-so plots, though, as long as I'm loving the characters.

Of course, after saying that, I was reading this book and couldn't hel
Ann aka Iftcan
This 7th book in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series is excellent. In this one, Mary and Holmes are headed to an India that is heading for independence from England as a favour to Mycroft. The are in search of Kim O'Hara (yes, THAT Kim, the one that Kipling wrote about) who has gone mysteriously missing and is feared dead. This book is a stronger story than previous ones, and includes the usual historical characters interacting with our heroine and her spouse. As well as other "fictional" ch ...more
Nov 13, 2011 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the third time I've read this. This story takes Holmes and Russell to the hill country of India where Kim (yes, Kipling's Kim!) O'Hara has disappeared and Mycroft wants to be sure he hasn't changed sides because Soviet Russia is looking to come into India through the northern passes and Kim would be ideally positioned to provide all sorts of information to them. The story takes the reader through a number of exotic locations and activities, including magic shows, secret tunnels, ...more
Oct 28, 2011 Gerry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointing considering that it was billed as 'A spellbinding mystery featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes'.

There are some good descriptive passages of the sub-continent and some exciting action on pig-sticking hunts but the storyline overall is weak.

What exactly is 'The Game'? A game of what? Find the missing boy? Hide and seek? Spies in the Hindu Kush? Whatever it is, it is not terribly clear even though, to repeat myself, there are some individual exciting passages. But somehow i
It's been an embarrassingly long time since I've sat down and read an actual hardback novel-- and this one was just delicious. King can WRITE! And her authorly fun is palpable on every page. I love Mary Russell-- King's original character was my first introduction into all things holmesian-- and her cleverness, wit, bravery-- they redeem the sometimes mechanical or stodgy misogynistic Holmes you see in so many depictions.
Really lovely.
May 19, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! A good mixture of mystery, adventure, and history all rolled into a yarn that's hard to put down.

But, as usual in her books, Ms King challenges me to go off and expand my horizons. For "The Game" of course I had to go read Kipling's "Kim". (Can't imagine why I'd never read it before, and I really wish I had!)

With Justice Hall I learned about the "Shot at Dawn Memorial" (, and
as "Locked Rooms" is next up for me, obviously I'm off to brush
Aug 29, 2016 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really enjoying these Laurie R. King novels. This one, in a fictional Indian setting, didn't disappoint.
Rebecca Cook
Apr 13, 2015 Rebecca Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars
love this series!
Jan 26, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are asked by his ailing brother Mycroft to travel to india to track down the missing Kimball O'Hara. It turns out Kim isn't just a character from a Kipling novel. he's a real person who has been working as a spy for Britain in the Great Game.While traveling to India by steamer Mary and Holmes com in contact with the Goodheart family whose son may also be a Russian spy. Upon their arrival in India Nesbit, the local government official asks Holmes to tr ...more
Mark Robertson
Oct 14, 2015 Mark Robertson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This seventh in the Mary Russell series is a gem set in India, where the Game of the title refers to the 19th and early 20th century rivalry between Britain and Russia for influence in Central Asia. Tensions have heated up after the Bolsheviks took power and Mycroft sends Holmes and Russell on a mission that requires the investigative couple to draw on their skills at disguise, deception and diplomacy.

In Laurie King's world not only Arthur Conan Doyle characters are reborn but apparently at lea
Philip Jones
Jan 11, 2015 Philip Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the seventh book by Ms. King in the Mary Russell series. It is every bit as sumptuous as its cover. It contains her usual cast of eccentrics placed in lovingly constructed scenery with a complex plot and brisk direction. It is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure story with a good deal of the fascination of its inspiration, Rudyard Kipling's "Kim".

Each of the books in this series has its own flavor. For example, "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" is the most “Sherlockian”, with all the traditiona
Jul 31, 2014 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fabulous epic journey, not only in physical terms, but for Russell, in emotional terms (which is true of most of the novels in this series. Having Holmes drop in as a fully developed character, the author almost certainly has to put most of her drive into other characters).
Mary Russell is now married to her mentor and friend, Sherlock Homes. They have traveled to India, at the behest of Mycroft Homes, to try to discover what has become of one of the British Empire's best spies...Kim, as in Th
Mar 15, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
the second of these Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books I have read following a recent read of pirate king which I picked up at a discount publishing outlet..anyhow this time around I found this at a charity shop and decided to give it the benefit of the doubt as I quite enjoyed pirate king despite the fact I understand from other reviewers that that book seems to be the weakest in the series thus far.
this one is certainly a more fullsome read and makes far more use of Holmes..from my limited
May 08, 2010 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this was one of the best of the Mary Russell series. I felt that the previous book in the series (Justice Hall) was a bit slow, but this one definitely wasn't. Mary and her husband Sherlock Holmes, under orders from Holmes' brother Mycroft, cruise to India and disguise themselves as itinerant magicians to try to find a missing British agent, Kimball O'Hara (Rudyard Kipling's Kim). The characters are well-done and the story involving with a real surprise near the end.
Apr 14, 2014 Jack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laurie King is a very good writer. Many of the passages were fantastic and the story was interesting. I read it as part of a class on Detective fiction, due to its connection with Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps I should say alleged connection. Holmes rarely does anything of note in the book. He's a background character for the most part, and hardly anything he does could be described as Holmesian. I haven't read the other Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes books, but this one could have been just as effecti ...more
Apr 21, 2016 Melina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I only ever read the first book in this series, but I really enjoyed it. So I was SHOCKED to pick this up and discover that Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes got married. In Book 1, she was 15 and he was an elderly retired gentleman. This book makes it clear that he is at least in his sixties while she is a mere 24. Ok, so I'm a bit hung up on the age difference, which isn't fair. However, since it REPEATEDLY discusses her position as his student, her need to obey him and essentially her subservi ...more
Oct 14, 2015 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Renita D'Silva
Recommended to Judy by: M.Rl Graham
Just loved this story set in India. Such colour and history - some tense and thrilling moments entwined with humour and wit. Mary's disguises continue to amaze and amuse, especially when she's required to portray her "twin brother". Surprises and treachery at every bend in the road and an exhilarating journey. Hurray - another great Holmes and Russell adventure.
Adrienne B
Jul 27, 2016 Adrienne B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each book is like a new revelation into something weird and wonderful about the world. In this adventure Mary Russell heads to India and discovers the strange fort run by the maharaja aka "Jimmy". Some of the things Mary encounters I cannot even begin to imagine and can't help but wonder how the author, Laurie R. King, could invent up these things or if they are based loosely on real historical events and people. It is the imagination and scenery that is put into these novels that I love. I come ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Game by Laurie R. King 3 12 Mar 03, 2015 10:36AM  
  • Seeing a Large Cat (Amelia Peabody, #9)
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  • The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories
  • Busman's Honeymoon (Lord Peter Wimsey, #13)
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance
  • The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (Enola Holmes, #5)
  • Jane and His Lordship's Legacy (Jane Austen Mysteries, #8)
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)
  • O Jerusalem (Mary Russell, #5)
  • Justice Hall (Mary Russell, #6)
  • 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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“But a topee is not a turban, and I had been my teacher's pupil before I became my husband's wife, learning to my bones that half a disguise is none at all...The moment my short-cropped, pomade-sleek, unquestionably masculine hair passed beneath his nose was the closest thing I've ever seen Holmes to fainting dead away.” 8 likes
“Stop it!'
He relented, so far as he could, stepping forward to take my head into his hands. 'Russell, once, only once, I was taken and suffered for it. Please, my dear wife, believe me, this is not the same situation...'...I turned back to Holmes and hissed, 'If you're wrong, I shall be extremely angry with you.' Then O kissed him hard on the lips, more threat than affection, and let him step back into his cell...'However, Russ? I think that, all in all, given the choice, I prefer you with the hair and without the moustache.”
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