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The Murder of Mary Russell

(Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #14)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  7,972 ratings  ·  1,226 reviews
Has Laurie King followed in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s footsteps and killed off her protagonist? Sherlock Holmes is back in the latest in the New York Times bestselling series that Lee Child has hailed as “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today”—but is Mary Russell?

When the novel opens, the shabby carpet of 221B Baker Street is drenched in blood—and
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Bantam
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Natalie Here are the ones you need to read in order to understand this story: Beekeeper's Apprentice (#1) and A Monstrous Regiment of Women (#2). Of the other…moreHere are the ones you need to read in order to understand this story: Beekeeper's Apprentice (#1) and A Monstrous Regiment of Women (#2). Of the others, I highly recommend O Jerusalem (#5) although it's a side story to be sure - but a great one. Also, try The Game (#7) and Dreaming Spies (#13) if you want to get a sense of cases over the years and where they are now. But that's it. There are some pretty good reads in between all that, but more involved with other parts of their story and not touching on the current book.(less)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  7,972 ratings  ·  1,226 reviews

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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
THE MURDER OF MARY RUSSELL is the fourteenth book in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, and I have read every single one of the books. This series is actually one of my absolute favorites, and to say that I've been waiting to read this book is an understatement.

Diane S ☔
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
When Mrs. Hudson arrives home from her shopping, she is shocked to find trails of blood, but even more shocking is that Mary Russell is nowhere to be found. Putting an ad in the paper, the signal she uses when she needs Holmes to come as soon as possible. So here it begins.

Long readers of this series are in for a treat because for the first time we are taken into Mrs. Hudson's past, a past that quite frankly I found amazing. After many years as Holmes's housekeeper, she has just always been ther
3.5 stars

Let me get a couple of things out of the way. First, I'm a huge fan of this series & wait impatiently for each instalment. Second, this is a well written book. So you may ask why 3.5 stars?

It begins with a bang when Mary opens her door to a stranger. But despite the title, this is a book about Mrs. Hudson. What follows is the extremely detailed story of her life from birth to present day. And while I've always found her an engaging secondary character, she is not why I read these books.
The title of this latest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes is enough to make long-time fans, including me, of this series wring their hands and bite their nails. Murder of Mary Russell? Has author Laurie King lost her mind? Have fans not shown how much they love Mary? Well, there was nothing to do but read the book and hope for the best.

So, what to tell those who haven’t read The Murder of Mary Russell. I can tell you that Laurie King has written a brilliant book, one of the best in the series. There
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This was...not great. Ms. King can do better.

**** I'm editing this review because after thinking about it for 12 hours this book is still making mad and I have thoughts.****

I stayed up way past my bedtime to read this book, so the fact that it was so...not good...ticks me off. And it's not that the book was "bad", it was just extremely boring. I will now present my complaints in a list:

1- Mary Russell isn't murdered. This isn't a spoiler by the way, because the author (well, "Mary Russell" has
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Well written, as always; the mystery itself is decent and Holmes and Russell are everything I have come to expect.


(The following contains spoilers.)

I do not like the backstory King has chosen for Mrs. Hudson. Making her a criminal beholden to Holmes' generosity weakens rather than strengthens the character. In my headcanon she has never owed him a thing, but as an independent human came into his life by her own free choice. Worse, Mary too is now beholden to the brothers to hide her own
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This turned into a really good murder mystery. Sherlock is not the central character, instead its the women in his life, his young wife and the indomitable Mrs. Hudson. In this book we learn about Mrs. Hudson’s background. It’s written intermittently with the current murder in progress. Not one of my favorite story techniques, but it seemed to work well.
I’m usually picturing the characters standing by, checking their watches while the scenes on the next stage progress. 🤷🏼‍♀️
Karyn Niedert
I am not a huge fan of novels that jet set between continents and leading readers through a whirl-wind tour of exotic locales. This is unusual, I know, but I want my novels to be based in one location, preferably the USA. With that being said, I became a HUGE fan of Laurie R. King when I read “Keeping Watch”, a standalone novel that moved me in ways I can’t explain. Of course, I immediately dove into “Folly”, and followed up with “A Darker Place”. Her Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series nev ...more
Mary Russell is confronted by an unknown man at her home in the Sussex Downs. Sherlock Holmes is away for a few days and Mrs. Hudson is in town at the market. Mary figures out this man appears to think Mrs. Hudson is his mother and from there, the past becomes alive as the reader discovers the entire backstory of Mrs. Hudson and how she came to work for Sherlock Holmes. Fascinating story building about a beloved character.
May 16, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This story was excruciatingly boring and disappointing. I love Mary Russell and have read them all & recommended them to others. I've even emailed Laurie King in the past to thank her for Russell & Holmes. The stories were so fresh & imaginative, well-written, clever and entertaining.

Not this one, sad to say. When I first saw the title (which is completely misleading), I gasped, then quickly realized Laurie would not kill off Russell. Still, it left me with a queer feeling so I dived right into
Lars Dradrach
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
It’s like the series has got its second wind with the last couple of books.

I should have expected that King knew what she was doing when Mrs Hudson got her own short story, a while back, it was obviously a prelude to this book where she’s the undisputed main character.

With pure genius King digs back to the very start of the Sherlock Holmes legend and weaves in Mrs Hudson in a very convincing tale.

Even Sherlock himself who in the last couple of books has taken a back seat gets a real role in this
This was a new author for me. The characters were real-to-life. I did enjoy this story with its many twists and turns. I did not loose interest in this story and there were times it was hard to put the book down. I am planning to read some of the stories that came before this one. I may have discovered another author that I really enjoy.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all of Laurie R. King's books (she is a very fine writer), especially the Mary Russell series, and THE MURDER OF MARY RUSSELL is one of the very best additions to the series. It's hard to talk about the plot at all without possibly giving away one iota of pleasure that the reader will luxuriate in while returning to the (1920s) world of Mary Russell, an academic and a detective, and her husband (a retired beekeeper in Sussex, England), but I will say that Ms. King knows how to keep the se ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m really enjoying this series and this was a solid addition. Most of the book covers the back story of Holmes’ housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson. I doubt anyone could have come up with a more unique and intriguing premise.
What don't we know about the people safely in our backgrounds – parents, teachers, caregivers, etc. Laurie King asked this question in The Murder of Mary Russell. Like Ms. Russell, "I was astonished, and fascinated, and—yes—somewhat troubled by what I learned of Mrs Hudson, those days and the time that followed. But mostly, I was ashamed, that I had never even asked (pp. 297-298). We are curious about Sherlock Holmes and Ms. Russell, but a servant? She can stay safely in the background.

I was ini
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best story I have listened to all year! Thank you, Ms. King.
Linda Baker
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The fourteenth novel in the Sherlock Holmes/ Mary Russell series opens on a quiet summer day on the Sussex Downs. Mary Russell is home alone, as Mrs. Hudson, the longtime landlady, then housekeeper, to Sherlock Holmes is doing her regular marketing. Sherlock Holmes is away doing whatever Sherlock does: probably a mission for Mycroft Holmes. At the door is a man, claiming to be Mrs. Hudson's son. All of Mary's alarm bells are ringing, as she knows nothing of a son. She,however, does know about a ...more
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
A Tribute to Mrs. Hudson...

I'm a huge fan of the Mary Russell series so I've been not so patiently waiting for this next book, especially considering the title is "The Murder of Mary Russell." My imagination was running wild, wondering what happens to Mary so I was a little disappointed when the book started off as a recitation of Mrs. Hudson's past. It was quite a bit different from King's usual format of jumping right into the story. I really wanted to just hurry up and get to the present hea
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery, vbc, arc
Another great entry in the Russell series from Ms. King! A throwback to the story style from Locked Rooms where most of the story is told from perspectives other than Russell's (understandably!). It's tricky to write a review without spoiling the story, but I will say that the best part of this book is Mrs. Hudson. She's so much in the background in the series (and in Canon in general!), but she really shines in this story.

Fans of Russell will absolutely love this one. This would also be a great
Krisette Spangler
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The title of this book alone was enough to make me eager to read it. The novel starts off with a bang and never lets up. I couldn't get through the pages fast enough, as you are desperate to know if Mary Russell is indeed dead. We get the back story of one of the most famous housekeepers in literature in this edition of the series, and we see Sherlock lose some of his stone cold reserve with the loss of his wife. It's a touching and fantastic story that incorporates one of Arthur Conan Doyle's o ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
My ARC courtesy of Random House/Net Galley; much thanks. My opinions are my own.

3.5 stars. This is principally a novel about Mrs. Hudson, who walked into 221 Baker St. in 1880 with a backstory. That story takes up at least half the book, perhaps more. (Mary Russell is present only briefly in the first half, and I believe the Sherlock Holmes of 1925, only in the second half.)

I'd refresh myself with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott" (it's in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holme
I was looking forward to reading this book, but was so disappointed. It is good, but not at all what I expected. It was hardly about Mary or Sherlock, mostly about Mrs. Hudson. So I felt cheated. That is why I gave it 3 stars.
Carol Douglas
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read all Laurie R. King's mysteries that feature Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. If you aren't already a fan, Mary Russell, who is much younger than Holmes, becomes his crime-solving partner and marries him. She also has a career of her own studying religion at Oxford (she is Jewish) but she always seems to have time for detecting.

This is one of the better books in the series. It features Mrs. Hudson, Holmes's perpetual housekeeper, giving her own colorful back story: Her father raised her
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found the story of Mrs. Hudson's life to be interesting and satisfying. From the beginning to end of her story—thus far. After fearing for Mary's life, she puts the safety net that Holmes has created into action. Holmes and Mary have responded to the threat of Mrs. Hudson's son with their typical thoroughness. Mrs. Hudson then turns a page in her life story to deal with her son's father. As inventive as ever, she is able to accomplish this with the support of Holmes and Mary. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynn Schluns
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2019
Love, love, love the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell stories!!! I'm a sucker for anything with Sherlock in it (Mary is a great character too!) ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book gives the whole series a big plot twist. I like this series, but sometimes I feel like the books can drag a little. Not this time. Best of all, we're given a lot of background to Mrs. Hudson's story. (Who knew Mrs. Hudson had a story?) This is a good one, but if you haven't read the previous books in the series you could find yourself a little behind. ...more
Thomas Ray
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trivia
Sherlock Holmes with his new partner, Mary Russell. Good stories. Likeable characters. Set in many and varied physical, social, religious, linguistic, and literary environments. She includes current events of the time and place: WWI, anti-colonial struggles in several countries, natural disasters; prominent actual people appear, as well as occasional fictional characters of other authors. Insightful and fun! Many books in the series, and the stories keep getting more compelling:

Later books buil
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

This book felt like two stories for the price of one. With part of a third thrown in for added body and spice.

The first 55% of this book details the life of times of Mrs. Hudson before she became Mrs. Hudson. In the Holmes’ Canon, Mrs. Hudson springs fully-formed, as if from the Head of Zeus. Or Arthur Conan Doyle. In the first half of The Murder of Mary Russell, we finally get to know who she was before she became Holmes’ and Watson’s mostly unflappable la
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read and enjoyed all the Mary Russell books. This started a little pokey, where we are filled in on our Mrs. Hudson's past. A past which I certainly would not have expected! It turned out to be quite good, and moved along more quickly once Sherlock arrived on the scene. I enjoyed Billy, I hope he reappears in more books. ...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 2018 novel, Island of the Mad, sees Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel from London's Bedlam to the glitter of Venice's Lido,where Young Things and the friends of Cole Porter pass Mussolini's Blackshi

Other books in the series

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #1)
  • A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #2)
  • A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #3)
  • The Moor (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #4)
  • O Jerusalem (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #5)
  • Justice Hall (Mary Russell, #6)
  • The Game (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #7)
  • Locked Rooms (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #8)
  • The Language of Bees (Mary Russell, #9)
  • The God of the Hive (Mary Russell, #10)

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