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A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #3)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  10,995 ratings  ·  647 reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 355 pages
Published (first published 1996)
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Aug 02, 2012 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of excellent writing and good mysteries
4.5 stars. A librarian who met her recently told me that Laurie R. King is a "true intellectual," and after reading this third book in the Mary Russell series, I have to agree. Her books read like classics. They are books to savor and to thoroughly enjoy. I truly enjoyed this installment, and will definitely be continuing with the series. It didn't earn a five from me because it lacks the emotional power of my recent fives. However, it's extremely well-written, intelligent, and I love Russell an ...more
Candice Beever
I didn't like this book as much as the first two. I actually put it down twice in the middle to read other books and then again twenty pages from the end (mid-reveal). I just didn't care how the case ended.

The victim of the case was meant to be a personal friend of Mary's, which is why they get involved with the case at all, but I just didn't see the connection. They had only met once. How close of friends can they be?

Also, Mary ended up following the wrong lead on the case. So, half of the case

This is the third book in King's Mary Russell / Sherlock Holmes series, and the more I read, the more I like the series. Russell is intelligent, lively, interesting and feisty - a worthy match for Holmes. King has said that Russell is what Holmes would be if he were female, born in the 20th Century and interested in theology (or words to that effect). In my view, that aspect of Russell has become clearer as the series has progressed. It is also what makes the pairing of the very young Russell an
Guilty. I committed a great reading faux-pas.

Years ago I read The Beekeeper's Apprentice and A Monstrous Regiment of Women. My book group was reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice , so I reread it and loved it even more than I remembered. I decided to buy the next two books in the series, A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary, but alas, book #3, A Letter of Mary, arrived first.

This was quite frustrating. I was so excited to read them and now I was presented with a dilemma. On the one
Am very much enjoying this!

I think one of the tings I like about this series is that there is considerable intellect involved, both in the characters of Russell and Holmes themselves, and in the manner in which the mystery is solved.

In this 3rd installment we see the continuing development of Russell as Holmes' assistant, partner, and wife, and the evolution of the relationship between the two of them.The mysterious Mary M. letter, and it's implications, reflects the character of Russell, her re
Stephanie Swint
When I finished King’s second novel in this series, ‘A Monstrous Regiment of Women,’ I was left a bit uncomfortable and unhappy. King had always kept Mary and Sherlock’s relationship as a mentor and one of a guardian. At the end of that book Sherlock proposes. Their relationship while strained and questioning in the book hadn’t been romantic, but Mary had turned 21 and their relationship caused questions, especially when traveling together.

My first response was that King was throwing in a needle
May 28, 2008 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, sherlock holmes afficianados
Shelves: mystery
Excellent addition to Laurie R. King's alt-Sherlock Holmes universe, A Letter of Mary finds Holmes and Russell, erm, rusticating , for want of a better term at their home on the Sussex downs. Both are relieved to get an intriguing letter from Dorothy Ruskin, an amateur archaeologist Russell had met during their last visit to Palestine.

Russell is shocked when only hours after visiting the couple, Miss Ruskin suffers an "accident" in London, and Holmes and Russell are back on the case.

A very soli
This is a good book and a well-written addition to King's Mary Russell series, but I was thirty pages into it when I realized it was another The Da Vinci Code ripoffs. Groan. Can't these people come up with their own all-you-thought-you-knew-about-Christianity-is-wrong plots? This one is actually more realistic than Dan Brown's, but it's been done.

It would probably amaze these people to know that their "abject terror" of the controversy is a bit overblown. Of course Jesus had female followers.
An Odd1
"A Letter of Mary" is a papyrus scrap, penned by a Mariam, apostle of Jesus, to her sister Judith of Magdala, commending the carrier Rachel, her grand-daughter to their care, days before the fall of Israel to the Roman heathens. Days after Dorothy Ruskin presents the gift in a delicate dainty wooden box to friends Mary and Sherlock Holmes, a car runs down and kills the white-haired intrepid archaeologist. Evidence of a deliberate trip-wire points to murder. Men with black hair and sharp knives v ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is the third Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell mystery, and I read it, hoping to find the magic that captivated me in “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.” It isn’t here. The plot is poorly constructed, mainly focusing on a wild goose chase concerning a character that might possibly be the killer. Then, the real killer pops in out of the blue, and we realize that we were completely suckered, having wasted our time with 200 pages of nothing that mattered at all! And then there’s the title, which refers t ...more
May 17, 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
I've recovered from the surprise marriage of Mary and Sherlock. It's now 1923 and Mary is contacted by a tutrix from Oxford that she and Sherlock met up with in book one while in Palestine, Dorothy Ruskin. Dorothy is coming to England to seek funding of an archeological dig and wants to see Mary and Sherlock. She brings them a mystery - an inlaid box with a stained papyrus roll inside. That evening, Dorothy is killed in a hit and run. But, Mary and Holmes soon think that it was murder, especiall ...more
Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are happily ensconced in their Sussex countryside home. Well, maybe ‘happily’ isn’t quite the right word. Mary has graduated from Oxford and is writing a theological book, while Holmes prowls their little house like a bad-tempered cat. Some days he inhales the London papers, others he’s a bit too calculated in his refusal to keep updated on the goings on of his old city. Mary knows he’s hungry for a new case, but she’s reluctant to admit her own itch ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joyce Lagow
Third in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series.[return][return]In the summer of 1923, Russell and Holmes are at home in Holmes cottage in Sussex. Russell is concentrating on finishing her first book on theology; Holmes is bored. Into their lives pops Dorothy Ruskin, an eccentric older Englishwoman, an amateur archaeologist, whom they met during their adventure in Palestine. She brings with her a letter written on parchment that could very well have been written by Mary of Magdala--Mary Magdale ...more
After the disappointment of A Monstrous Regiment of Women, I was not very much inclined to read the next installment in the Mary Russell series, titled A Letter of Mary. I decided to forge on, though, in the hopes that this will prove better than the last one, and that it might wash away some of the bitter aftertaste of disappointment in the last book.

In this novel, Holmes and Russell appear to be settling well into married life after the events of A Monstrous Regiment of Women, when they are vi
A very neat little mystery that promises a great deal in the way of theological intrigue and misogyny yet resolves itself in a mundane way. Much to Holmes's chagrin. How boring for him and a nice change for the reader.

I liked this installment of Mary Russell's "memoirs". It continues in Mary's theological vein, with the arrival of a purported letter from Mary Magdalene where she identifies herself as an apostle, but rather than the death-defying cat-and-mouse games of the first two books it has
It seems to me that each book in this series gets better--after the first one, which I thought was too long and convoluted, I wasn't sure if I would continue reading the series, but the second and this, the third, were absolutely brilliant! Sherlock Holmes and his new wife, Mary Russell, work again to solve the suspicious death of an old acquaintance, an archaeologist who comes back to England from Palestine with a peculiar gift for Mary. A day later, Dorothy Ruskin is struck down in a London st ...more
If like me you can't bring yourself to believe that the restless mind of the great detective Sherlock Holmes could ever be content with the study of beekeeping you won't be surprised by the discovery of yet more lost manuscripts detailing his post retirement adventures. The Beekeeper's Apprentice introduced the character of Mary Russell; A Letter of Mary takes place years later and Mary has now married Sherlock - shocked gasp. King's books are meticulously researched and are fascinating studies ...more
I very much adored the beginning, middle and almost all the way to the end of this installment of Mary Russell and Sherlock. The end felt a bit hasty to me though, and a little bit out of character (albeit necessarily).
I am trying to pinpoint why this has been my favorite, by far, of this series. Could it be that it has been so long since I have read the first two, that I have fallen in love with the series again? Could it be that the focus was much more on the case than on the relationship between Russell and Holmes (which, frankly, I still have trouble believing the romantic aspect of)? In the end, all I can say was that I had a hard time putting this book down. I literally carried it with me everywhere. I f ...more
Very well written. No big surprises but never feels like a formula. Glad I still have more adventures to read.
I haven't read the first two books of the series, so perhaps that might have something to do with my failure to connect with this novel and particularly with the heroine, Mary Russell. An ageing Sherlock Holmes is married to a 23 year old who constantly reminds us that she is an intellectual doing important work at Oxford University. Mary has known Holmes since she was a lonely orphan of 15, and one of the memories she shares with the reader is of Holmes coming through her bedroom window to visi ...more
May 29, 2014 Lynda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jennifer Jenkins
I thoroughly enjoyed this third installment of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. Laurie R. King writes a disclaimer stating that these books were sent to her, and that she has edited them. The original author of the basic story is currently unknown. Russell and Holmes are now married and reconnect with an archeologist who's acquaintance they previously formed during their trip to Palestine. The renewal of their friendship forms a solid bond, especially between Mary and Ms. Ruskin. She ...more
Jennifer D
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 ...more
This book is a bit different from the previous volumes. They were very much about Mary - with a fair bit of Sherlock thrown in - and the mysteries were secondary. In this volume the mystery drives the plot and the character's actions. I still enjoyed it a lot, as we see a great deal of Mary, whom I like. And I enjoy Mary and Sherlock together, as they were frequently, especially in the first half.

It's true, as some reviewers point out, that some of the investigations Mary and others pursued turn
This is the third mystery in this series.

While I enjoyed spending time with Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes, this installment seemed to get off to a bit of a slow start, the mystery picked up momentum once Mary went undercover.

I love the details of the many disguises that Mary and Sherlock employ as well as Mary's quick thinking and ability to take care of herself. Overall a fun, clever and charming mystery.
I liked this edition to the Mary Russell series, but not for the mystery, which I found just okay. No, it was the relationship and dialog between Holmes and Russell I found so interesting. Holmes loves Russell deeply and shows it in such intriguing and attractive ways. Such a twist - the difference between their ages. I enjoy seeing how their marriage and professional partnership evolves. Will read the next installment for sure.
The characters are so much fun and the interplay between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes is so realistic for a husband and wife duo that I found myself laughing at times. I gave this one three stars because the author gave away too many details much too soon for my taste. However, this is a fun read threaded with Greek words and symbols (brought statistics courses back to mind). The premise that a letter written by Mary Magdalene had surfaced after all these years seems almost impossible but si ...more
walaupun saya bukan sherlockian garis keras tapi saya pernah baca Sherlock Holmes-nya Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, juga versi filmnya (Robert Downey Jr.) dan seriesnya (Benedict Cumberbatch). dan novel ini lumayan bagus buat novel detektif tapi kurang thrilling dibanding novelnya Doyle. menurut saya SH yang ini, yang diceritakan udah tua dan udah nikah, beda dengan SH aslinya. ya mungkin karena faktor dia tua jadi dia digambarkan lebih wise gitu. kalo tokohnya benar-benar baru mungkin akan lebih nikm ...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

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)
  • The Moor (Mary Russell, #4)
  • O Jerusalem (Mary Russell, #5)
  • 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)
The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1) A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell, #2) O Jerusalem (Mary Russell, #5) The Language of Bees (Mary Russell, #9) Locked Rooms (Mary Russell, #8)

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“The hand of bone and sinew and flesh achieves its immortality in taking up a pen. The hand on a page wields a greater power than the fleshly hand ever could in life.” 10 likes
“I am getting old, Russell. Gone are the days when I could scramble about on the moors all day and curl up happily at night with a thin blanket and a stone for a pillow. Three nights on floorboards and one night without sleep following three days at strenuous labour make me aware that I am no longer a callow youth.” 0 likes
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