The Murder of Mary Russell (Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes)
by Laurie R. King
Review by Gayle Surrette
Bantam Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780804177900
Date: 05 April 2016 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Murder of Mary Russell opens with Mary Russell being alone in the house. Holmes is away and Mrs. Hudson is out doing the shopping. A man drives up and says he's Mrs. Hudson's son. Imagine Mary's surprise at this assertion, let alone the surprise of the reader. Mary feels uncomfortable with this man but offers to make tea. Imagine her surprise when she turns to ask about biscuits and is faced with the barrel of a gun in a very steady hand.
Mrs. Hudson returns to broken items and blood, lots of blood on the floor, and no one home. The reader should now be on sitting on the proverbial edge of their seat -- Mary Russell is a dab hand at protecting herself but there's that title after all. Is she dead? Mary's certainly missing and so is the son of Mrs. Hudson. What's a reader to do except continue reading (so don't start expecting to put this book down and pick it up again now and then -- it's really is a page turner).
Usually, these Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell books focus on the adventures and exploits of these two main characters. However, haven't you always wondered about Mrs. Hudson? Why did she move from Baker Street to the countryside with Holmes? How did she end up his landlady in the first place? This book is mostly about Mrs. Hudson -- it's her story. Where did she come from? Who is she really? How did she end up at Baker Street? Well, now you'll learn her story and how it connects with that of Holmes and by extension Russell.
This was nearly impossible to put down as the question in my mind was always, "Now what?" King once again entertains and keeps the reader invested in trying to follow the clues and hints, and avoid the pitfalls of coming to conclusions without facts. The Murder of Mary Russell keeps readers unbalanced and yet entertained and entranced until the final page.