Having read Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories as a kid, I have always loved everything Holmes. Laurie R. King especially writes a fascinatiHaving read Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories as a kid, I have always loved everything Holmes. Laurie R. King especially writes a fascinating series about Holmes after retirement to the country to raise bees when he meets and marries Mary Russell, a young woman with gifts similar to his. Mary keeps Holmes sharp and the two work together on cases and share adventures.
In The Murder of Mary Russell, we see King at her finest in her ability to imagine the past lives of those surrounding Holmes. When Mary Russell goes missing, it appears to be related to the past life of Mrs. Hudson, the current housekeeper, and prior landlady at 221B Baker St.
This is a Mrs. Hudson as we have never seen her portrayed. We find that in reality, Mrs. Clara Hudson is actually Miss Clarissa Hudson, as she has never married.
As a child, Clarissa and her mother are transported to Australia after her mother commits a crime, intentionally, hoping to be transported so she can meet her husband who is currently in Australia. James is in Australia as he left England owing a substantial sum to a London super criminal called The Bishop.
When her mother passes away, James and his two daughters, Alicia and Clarissa, are in desperate straights. James is surprised to identify an amazing acting ability in his eldest, Clarissa, and sets out to use this talent to commit "Cheats" as Clarissa thinks of them. These are little cons committed by James and Clarissa in which Clarissa either distracts the victim while James picks their pockets or appeals to their sympathy with a false claim of distress and obtains little monetary gifts.
As Clarissa gets older, the "Cheats" become harder and harder to perpetrate in Australia. Knowing Alicia has no abilities to participate in their cons, they leave her in the safe hands of her teacher and head to London. Alicia then leads a very normal life growing up in Australia and marrying.
In the meantime, the now young woman Clarissa is pulling her biggest con - have a season in the ton and find a wealthy husband. But, this is where she makes her mistake - she falls in love with a wrong man.
Mrs. Hudson's story takes several twists and turns that tie her to the young man, Sherlock Holmes, for the rest of her life. Included in this relationship are a baby and a young man boy named Billy. What do they have in common? Why has this resulted in a danger for Mary Russell? Where is Mary - is she dead or in danger? All is revealed.
I loved the background story of Mrs. Hudson. This is so far from what you would expect of the ever present, proper landlady from the Holmes stories. But, this is definitely her story, and Sherlock Holmes takes a back seat here. As usual, the writing is superb and King keeps us riveted with her unusual tale.
I highly recommend this for lovers of Conan Doyle and the Mary Russell series. ...more
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is one of those books that crosses so many genre and age groups; it makes it hard to talk about it using only aOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is one of those books that crosses so many genre and age groups; it makes it hard to talk about it using only a few words. I can recommend this to women and men, to teens through seniors, to mystery lovers, to historical fiction lovers, etc. My book club selected this for our upcoming meeting and I am pretty sure we will have a ton to discuss.
The story is told from the perspective of 13 year-old Frank Drum. Frank is the middle child of Nathan and Ruth Drum, a minister and his artistic wife. A younger brother, Jake, stutters and is subject to ridicule for his handicap. Older sister Ariel, a very talented musician, originally plans on attending Juilliard in the coming school year, but becomes reluctant to leave. In addition, the family includes Gus, a war buddy who saved Nathan's life and needs help getting back on his feet.
It is the hot summer of 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota, with the Twins baseball team playing their first season, and small town life is gentle, peaceful and innocent. But, for Frank and his family, this becomes the summer of lost innocence; a summer of death - suspicious, murder, suicide, and accidental deaths. In addition, there are secrets and misunderstandings, racism and bigotry, and a great deal of loss.
Through Frank's eyes we see marital struggles, misbehaving adults, injustice, and a tremendous amount of pain and loss. He and his younger brother Jake struggle to understand the world around them, and the impact of religion on many different lives. Both grow up during this painful summer of loss, and begin to see the world from the perspective of young men rather than boys.
Frank is an honorable, yet mischievous 13 year-old who has the normal boy's curiosity and the awakening interest in the opposite sex. He narrates the story, and the first person perspective works, as Frank is a tremendous eavesdropper and learns much from gossip. The story is heartwarming, yet tear-inducing, painful, yet funny, and the characters are common, ordinary townspeople, yet reflective of the best and worst of humankind.
Ordinary Grace is an extraordinary story that pulled me faster and faster through to the end. There is plenty of action to keep the interest of the plot-craving reader, but a tremendous amount of heart to keep the character-driven interest, as well. I laughed, I cried, I remembered. I recommend Ordinary Grace very highly....more
It has been a while since I read an Elizabeth George mystery. I seemed to have stumbled in the middle and not found my way. Luckily, I received an advIt has been a while since I read an Elizabeth George mystery. I seemed to have stumbled in the middle and not found my way. Luckily, I received an advance reader copy from Edelweiss/Above the Treeline of A Banquet of Consequences. It reminded me why I loved the Lynley and Havers mysteries.
The story is very complex. We have a good sense from the beginning of who did it, so the case is mostly about discovering how, and finding the evidence to arrest and convict. However, there are, of course, many twists and turns and a few surprises. The ending is very satisfying, and in an out of the ordinary way, justice is triumphant.
I did not give it 5 stars, although I found the book very interesting and challenging. However, I did feel it got bogged down a bit with some of the police investigation. I suppose what was written was much closer to the way investigations normally go, but I found myself frustrated and skipping over a big of the last few chapters to get to the resolution.
But, it looks like Lynley and Havers are back on my reading list....more
I so wanted to like this book. But at about 40% read I finally realized I was just not engaged and was finding the book tedious to read.
Modern day teI so wanted to like this book. But at about 40% read I finally realized I was just not engaged and was finding the book tedious to read.
Modern day teen Sherlock Holmes and James (female) Moriarty are "working together" on a case. The story is told from Mori's perspective and Lock is almost a side character. Lovers of Holmes fiction be aware of this. At a third of the way through the book, we have only bits and pieces of Sherlock Holmes. Mori is keeping so much information from him that his brilliant mind has little to work with.
There is apparently some physical attraction as there is some kissing, but, to be honest, I don't know why as I see no chemistry between the two. Both appear to be moody, tedious individuals.
I am abandoning the book and don't feel I can recommend it to either mystery lovers or Holmes fans....more
Such a cliche filled mystery in every way possible. Very light read. Sweet easy read that has very few surprises. Hard to read just before Christmas aSuch a cliche filled mystery in every way possible. Very light read. Sweet easy read that has very few surprises. Hard to read just before Christmas about all these people winning the lottery! lol...more