Joyce Lagow's Reviews > A Letter of Mary

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King
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's review
Apr 20, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: mystery

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 Magdalene-just before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. The letter is potentially explosive, because it clearly suggests that Mary of Magdala was an apostle and to have had a leadership role in the early church in Jerusalem, roles long believed by Christians to have been for males only. Ruskin givens the letter to Russell, and leaves for London. But Ruskin is murdered in London shortly after she leaves Holmes and Russell, and they set off on the hunt for her killer. [return][return]It s an intriguing plot that requires a modern reader to understand the rigid belief in male dominance in the Christian church in the early 20th century (and today in some). For some time, Mary Magdalene has been widely called  the apostle to the apostles. Most Christians today would not only not be disturbed, but rather excited about such a find. [return][return]Well plotted and with the usual King strengths of spare writing, good storytelling, and fine characterizations. One of the fun aspects of this series is the disguises that Holmes and Russell employ in their investigations; this time, Russell s gets her into some uncomfortable situations.[return][return]Because King has a degree in theology, she nearly always brings religion into her plots in some form or another, indulging herself in her own interests as she does so. It s always fascinating, always adding an enormous amount to her books. This one is no exception.[return][return]Highly recommended.
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