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Pirate King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #11)

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,984 Ratings  ·  918 Reviews
In England's budding silent-film industry, megalomaniac Randolph Fflytte is king. At the request of Scotland Yard, Mary Russell is dispatched to investigate rumors of criminal activities. At Lisbon rehearsals for "Pirate King", based on Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance", thirteen blond-haired, blue-eyed actresses meet the real buccaneers Fflytte has recruite ...more
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published October 6th 2011 by Bantam (first published September 6th 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 28, 2014 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, kindle

As a long-time reader of crime fiction, I like Laurie R King's writing a lot. It's distinguished by excellent research, intelligent prose and interesting characterisation. However, this episode in the Mary Russell / Sherlock Holmes series is disappointing.

The series, which is set in the 1920s, is presented as the memoir of a young Oxford University educated woman who marries the "real" Sherlock Holmes, a man many years her senior. Holmes is real, you see, even though for most of his life people
Sep 12, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok
For over 10 years, I've enjoyed reading King's novels because of her incredible dedication to research, unfailing ear for dialogue and fantastic use of detail. However, in this book, the most recent in her Mary Russell series, all three of those staples are missing. Even for a series that posits that Holmes is some 10 years younger than generally accepted and married to a woman half his age, this addition strains credulity. Set in the mid-1920s on the moving set of a silent film about pirates, M ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Jane rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: purchased at indie bookstore (author event, signed).

I am a big fan of King's Mary Russell series, but Pirate King will not number among my favorites. King has stated that she agreed to write this book (under, I assume, the usual publisher pressure to keep churning on) with the proviso that she would go back to the light-hearted feel of the early Russell books. I would actually say that she went beyond her remit and came up with something that is so much more light-hearted t
Oct 01, 2011 LauraRW rated it it was ok
I was so excited to download this...and so let down as the book plodded on...and on...and on...with no hint of a mystery in sight.

Really, some sort of mystery should be present before the book is mostly over.

Perhaps some readers might be amused at Mary Russell being surrounded by a gaggle of mindless actresses, egotistical directors, and various other insipid personae surrounding a motion picture. I found it probably as trying as Mary Russell to be constantly sorting through the 13 female actres
Sep 16, 2011 Pamela rated it did not like it

Mary Russell agrees to go undercover for Scotland Yard rather than spend time in the same house with Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, after he announces he’s coming for a visit. Her assignment is as an assistant to the assistant to Randolph Fflytte, the leading producer of silent films in England. There have been rumors of criminal activities within Fflytte’s inner circle and Russell must find what they are and who’s involved. Fflytte is about to begin filming “Pirate King,” a film about filming Gil
May 26, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: laurie-king, 2011
And now for something completely different!! To be honest, I was quite prepared to be disappointed in this unlikely foray by Mary Russell. I mean, pirates? really?? give me a break! I'm not quite sure what I expected this novel to be, but I was thoroughly entertained by what it turned out to be. I'm not going to reveal any spoilers (most of you will just have to wait 'til September!) but I have to hand it to Laurie; in other hands this story could have quickly gone south but Ms. King used her ab ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Cynthia rated it it was ok
This book was a mess. I understand that it is the latest of a long series of novels, all with the premise of having been penned by Sherlock Holmes' wife, Mary Russell. This falls so short of anything aspiring to a Holmes mystery. Anachronisms! Sloppiness! Awkward and just plain silly plot. I was embarrassed for the author as I was reading along, hoping that some brilliant stroke would calm my fears and make the time spent worthwhile. It never came about, and loose strings were so abruptly and ca ...more

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Russell is called to go undercover to Lisbon and then Morocco as a director's assistant of the silent movie based on The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. Her job is to investigate strange troubles wit the team and the disappearance of the last assistant's director.

This idea is not so original since François Truffaut wrote and directed his famous movie "La nuit américaine" in 197
Sep 23, 2011 Gemma rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure why but something about musical theatre pleases me. And when you throw some Gilbert & Sullivan into the mix it should be evident that I will want to read it and will no doubt enjoy it, and this latest release from Laurie R. King is no exception.

The story is brilliantly composed. There are small intricacies within the tale that suck you in, so much so that I found myself wanting to wield a cutlass and go swashbuckling.
Unlike a few of the previous books in the Russell series, the
So this is Laurie R. King writing a book about fictional Mary Russell who has written another memoir of an adventure with Sherlock Holmes, this one about the time she went undercover as an assistant to a crew making a silent movie about a crew making a movie about The Pirates of Penzance.

By all rights, you should need to diagram out the layers of narrative and meta narrative, but you don’t. As usual, King passes but lightly over these points, and in fact pauses briefly to make fun of critical r
Apr 27, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes have just returned from a heart-wrenching case when Mary discovers that Mycroft intends to park himself with them for some time while he has the builders in. This prompts her to accept a case from Lestrade, investigating a film company that seems to have a shady side. From the moment she joins the company as assistant to one of the producers, Mary's life is turned upside down with constant chaos. The company, known always for shooting on location, is ...more
M Christopher
Mar 19, 2012 M Christopher rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
It's been awhile since I've been so disappointed in a book. Connie and I have become great fans of Laurie King's series of books about Mary Russell, the young woman who becomes Sherlock Holmes' apprentice and then his wife. Overall, the series is clever, well-written, and a true homage to the great stories of Arthur Conan Doyle.

But "Pirate King" falls flat. I think the reason is that Ms. King tries too hard to match her style and plot points to the central conceit of the story. Russell and Holme
Those who believe that a series gets weaker the longer it goes on have not read Laurie King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books. This is the eleventh title in the series, and while it may not be the best of the bunch, it certainly ranks in the top three or four.

Russell/Holmes aficionados will know that Mary does not feel kindly towards her brother-in-law Mycroft. (Something about him being manipulative...?) So, when her husband tells her that his brother will be coming to stay for a few wee
Heather Clawson
Jan 07, 2012 Heather Clawson rated it liked it
While I really like King's writing style, I'm completely puzzled as to why she felt the need to insert the character of Mary Russell into the world of Sherlock Holmes. I can totally see Mary Russell in her own world and doing just fine. Tying her to Holmes confuses me because I keep expecting serious bouts of deductive reasoning and feats of intuition that border on the mystical (until they're explained of course!) In short, I expect more of an original Holmes feel, with a new perspective brough ...more
Emily Childress-Campbell
I don't know if it's just me, but I have a certain devotion toward authors I started reading at a young age. Right about the time I started venturing out of the juvenile and young adult sections of the library I was about fourteen, and I will always be doomed to give the benefit of the doubt to these first "adult" authors that captivated me.

"Why do you choose the word 'doomed'?" you may ask. My answer to that question is Laurie R. King's new novel Pirate King. Before I enumerate all the reasons
Dec 04, 2011 Marlene rated it it was amazing
Investigating possible evildoers while filming a silent movie about a movie about a comic opera. It should have been a farce. But in Laurie R. King's The Pirate King, it's Holmes and Russell, so it's an absolutely marvelous froth instead.

Mary Russell does not particularly want to spend a fortnight (that's two weeks to us Americans) cooped up in Sussex with her brother-in-law Mycroft. In their last meeting (The God of the Hive) Russell discovered that some of Mycroft's actions on the part of the
I looked forward to this book for months, since I am a huge fan of the series. Mary Russell is the wife of the fictional character Sherlock Holmes and the previous ten books developed their story from their early friendship with Holmes as a mentor to the young Mary Russell, to their working partnership, to their marriage and travels around the world.

This book was such a disappointment. The first 75% of it was straight up convoluted and boring. And worst of all, there was almost nothing about Sh
I really struggled with the star rating on this one. In the end, I went with 3 stars, as it denotes "I liked it." Pirate King missed the mark with me, although being in one of my favorite series, it certainly had elements that I enjoyed. King's wit still shines through, and her knowledge of places and history is intact. I would guess if it was one problem that defines my lower rating, it would be the absence of Sherlock Holmes in the majority of the book. Mary Russell is a brilliant character, b ...more
Judith Shadford
Jan 23, 2013 Judith Shadford rated it it was ok
I keep hoping that Laurie King will return to her former brilliance. Nothing, in the Holmes-Russell series has topped Beekeeper's Apprentice and Monstrous Regimen. Whatever her initial spark for this unappealing collage of Gilbert & Sullivan and early filmology, there weren't even warm ashes by the conclusion. And the intriguing braiding of the Holmes legends with an upstart American girl...watching as an actual relationship was forged...all gone. Russell is dismissive of Holmes, and King si ...more
Feb 16, 2015 May rated it liked it
I have really loved this series, whose premise is centered on Sherlock Holmes coming out of retirement and marrying a young woman very much his intellectual equal, named Mary Russell.
Unfortunately, as of late, the series has gotten a bit inconsistent. The eleventh book of the series, "Pirate King" is an excellent example of this inconsistency.
The premise of the book is a whimsical one: Mary Russell masquerades as a director's assistant of a film about the making of a film of "Pirates of Penzan
Nov 18, 2011 Vicki rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, mystery, girl-power
After several dark, intense cases, Russell and Holmes find themselves undercover on a silent film production featuring a bevy of blonde actresses and a group of real-life pirates. Much bemusement ensues. It's fun change of pace in the series--humorous, but still smart and thoughtful.
Dec 04, 2013 Nancy rated it liked it
Wasn't up to her usual thrilling plot. Worth the read, but not one of her best.....

In England’s young silent-film industry, the megalomaniacal Randolph Fflytte is king. Nevertheless, at the request of Scotland Yard, Mary Russell is dispatched to investigate rumors of criminal activities that swirl around Fflytte’s popular movie studio. So Russell is traveling undercover to Portugal, along with the film crew that is gearing up to shoot a cinematic extravaganza, Pirate King. Based on Gilbert and S
Sheilagh Lee
Jan 21, 2012 Sheilagh Lee rated it liked it
If you haven’t read the series let me stop you right now and send you back to the beginning with The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994) ISBN 0-312-10423-5 The Beekeeper's Apprentice is the first in the series of books about Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. I never thought that anyone could do Holmes the justice that the original author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but Laurie R. King comes awful close. Scroll down to below the list of the Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell for the review of Pirate King.

A Mo
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I felt decidedly mixed about this one. This is the eleventh book in the Mary Russell series, which gives Sherlock Holmes a romantic and professional partner--and it works. Well, almost always. The series truly is a favorite of mine and usually hits the spot with its mix of Sherlock Holmes pastiche, mystery, and early 20th century historical fiction. I've grown to love Mary as a character in her own right. This one though, takes an entirely different tone than usual--in fact the first half plays ...more
James Korsmo
Aug 24, 2011 James Korsmo rated it really liked it
Pirate King is the eleventh Mary Russell novel from Laurie King (and they all, I believe, feature Sherlock Holmes, as this latest volume does). In this latest installment, there is plenty of action, as Mary gets swept up in a pirate adventure while involved in the making of a movie about a pirate adventure within a pirate adventure (there are many layers, and they aren't quite as confusing as it might seem). Mary signs on, at Holmes's urging, for an undercover assignment for Scotland Yard posing ...more
Ron Arden
Oct 03, 2011 Ron Arden rated it liked it
I was a bit disappointed by this book. The front cover says it is a novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately the first half of the book was a nice story with Russell, but hardly suspenseful at all. The only time one sees Homes is at the very beginning. Finally about half way through the book, Russell and Holmes come together and the suspense starts.

The story was interesting with a British film company planning to make a pirate movie based on their interpretatio
Pirate King (Mary Russell #11) by Laurie R. King

Genre: Mystery

Rating: Compared to everyday books, 5 stars; Compared to series, 4.5 stars

While reading other reviews for this book, I saw that not many people liked it as much as the others. Apparently it had too little Holmes in it, or the plot was too silly.

Well, for me, as much as I love Sherlock Holmes to death (and did miss him a bit), I thoroughly enjoyed Pirate King. The plot wasn’t as serious as the other books, but after all of the drama in
Aug 25, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
For those who enjoyed the original Sherlock Holmes novels, the novels penned by Laurie King are a bit different. They imagine Holmes as a senior citizen and married to a much younger Mary Russell, the narrator of the story. This is book eleven in the series. While each stands alone, they are much better if read in series. This latest story begins as Holmes and Russell are recovering from their laast adventure. Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard requests them to undertake an undercover assignmen ...more
Lana Kamennof-sine
Oct 10, 2011 Lana Kamennof-sine rated it really liked it
I broke down and ordered an author signed copy when I realized that a) local bookstores didn't have it as soon as I'd like & b) the public library had a lengthy queue for it long before publication.

I had it in hand in timely fashion & then the dilemma presented itself. Do I stop everything to read this immediately - instant gratification OR do I wait, to savour it, over a long thanksgiving weekend when I'd be alone in the house & could give it my full attention.

Delayed gratification
Sep 15, 2011 Dorothy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mary Russell fans
Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered it a few years ago. The thing that I have enjoyed most about it is the relationship between young Mary and the great Holmes. I found the growth of the relationship from beekeeper's apprentice to partner and wife to be thoroughly believable and thoroughly entertaining. The problem that I have with the latest installment in the series, Pirate King, is that there simply isn't much of that relat ...more
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How do you feel about where this series is going? 17 80 May 23, 2013 06:14AM  
Baker Street Irre...: Pirate King 1 21 Oct 07, 2011 11:01AM  
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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)
  • 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)

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