Another fine book about Sherlock Holmes and his nineteen-year-old apprentice, Mary Russell. The year is 1918, and the couple are forced to flee England for British-occupied Palestine. While there they are called on to solve a rash of murders. Laurie R. King does a wonderful job with feisty Mary Russell's character. If you love strong women in demanding roles you will love these books. Other titles include the Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, A Letter of Mary, The Moor, and O Jerusalem.
At the close of the year 1918, forced to flee England's green and pleasant land, Russell and Holmes enter British-occupied Palestine under the auspices of Holmes' enigmatic brother, Mycroft.
"Gentlemen, we are at your service." Thus Holmes greets the two travel-grimed Arab figures who receive them in the orange groves fringing the Holy Land. Whatever role could the volatile Ali and the taciturn Mahmoud play in Mycroft's design for this land the British so recently wrested from the Turks? After passing a series of tests, Holmes and Russell learn their guides are engaged in a mission for His Majesty's Government, and disguise themselves as Bedouins--Russell as the beardless youth "Amir"--to join them in a stealthy reconnaissance through the dusty countryside.
A recent rash of murders seems unrelated to the growing tensions between Jew, Moslem, and Christian, yet Holmes is adamant that he must reconstruct the most recent one in the desert gully where it occurred. His singular findings will lead him and Russell through labyrinthine bazaars, verminous inns, cliff-hung monasteries--and into mortal danger. When her mentor's inquiries jeopardize his life, Russell fearlessly wields a pistol and even assays the arts of seduction to save him. Bruised and bloodied, the pair ascend to the jewellike city of Jerusalem, where they will at last meet their adversary, whose lust for savagery and power could reduce the city's most ancient and sacred place to rubble and ignite this tinderbox of a land....
The second book in the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series. At the close of the year, 1918, forced to flee England. Sherlock Holmes and his nineteen-year--old apprentice Mary Russell enter British-occupied Palestine under the auspices of Holmes enigmatic brother,Mycroft. A rash of murders there seem unrelated to the growing tensions among Jew,Moslem, and Christians, yet Holmes is adamant that he must reconstruct the most recent one in the desert gully where it occurred. Their singular findings will lead him and Russell through labyrinthine bazaars, verminous hovels, cliff hanging monastaries - and into mortal danger. In the jewellike city of Jerusalem, they willat least meet their advisary, whose lust for power could reduce the city's most ancient and sacred place to rubble and ignite this tinderbox of a land.
T the close of the year 1918, forced to flee England, Sherlock Holmes and his nineteen year old apprentice Mary Russel enter British Occupied Palestine under the auspices of Holmes' enigmatic brother, Mycroft. A rash of murders there seems unrelated to the growing tension among Jew, Moslem and Christian yet Holmes is adamant that he must reconstruct the most recent one in the desert gully where it occurred.
At the close of the year 1918, forced to flee England by attempts on his life by persons unknown, Sherlock Holmes and his apprentice Mary Russell enter British-occupied Palestine. A rash of murders there seems unrelated to the growing tensions among Jew, Moslem, and Christian, yet Holmes is adamant that he must reconstruct the most recent murder site in the desert where it occurred.
What happens next is a true Holmsian mystery plot. The events in this book take place immediately after the events in THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE.
This is my favorite of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. The characters of Mahmoud and Ali are intriguing and well fleshed out. I would love to see another book involving these four characters.
Since I'm reading these books in order, I remember Mary Russell telling readers that she and Holmes had spent an extended period of time in Palestine, and O Jerusalem fills in the details. This fifth book in the series did a lot more than advance the story of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. For me, it helped to fill a large historical gap from the time of the Romans until 1948-- and it did so with style. In fact I didn't realize that the mystery didn't really begin until about halfway through the book because I was enjoying the trek Mary and Sherlock were undertaking.
King's subtle humor is sublime as she takes this intrepid duo through the desert with Ali and Mahmoud, two guides who aren't all that enthused about their charges (especially Mary). Life as a nomad is thirsty, blister-inducing, filthy work, and the author tells her tale so well that I often felt like taking a shower and burying my head in a bucket of ice water when I had to set the book aside.
Readers are treated to the sights, sounds, and smells of Jerusalem, as well as bazaars and cliff-hugging monasteries as they watch Ali and Mahmoud's slowly changing opinions of their English companions. The mystery is a good one that keeps the little grey cells chugging away even as I cringed while being taken deep into ancient Jerusalem.
O Jerusalem is filled with what I love so much about this series: marvelous characterizations, an intriguing mystery to solve, a wonderful dry wit, and a setting that I can really sink my teeth into. Bring on the next one!
In many ways, this is the best book in the series so far. Right from the beginning, the action and intrigue is constant. It also seems less wordy than some of the others.
Although the fifth novel in this series, the plot in this book actually takes place about two-thirds of the way through the first book. "O Jerusalem" actually covers what Holmes and Russell did when they had to flee England or risk death from their then unknown adversary.
However, the ending in "O Jerusalem" seems incomplete, in that the author left out, or I missed, the motive for the criminal mastermind's destructive plot. Perhaps I'll find out in the next book.
And in "O Jerusalem", Russell begins to experience some feelings toward Holmes which seemed to be absent in the first book, but which now helps explain their eventual romantic relationship. Perhaps, the author either noticed this later or was asked how the jump between "apprentice" and "lover" occurred, and this was her answer.