A lost heir, murder most foul, and the unexpected return of two old friends start Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes--spouses and intellectual equals--on an investigation that takes them from the trenches of World War I France to the heights of English society. In this sixth entry in Laurie King's award-winning series
, fans will find the Baker Street sleuth mellowed by age and marriage yet still in possession of his deductive abilities and acerbic wit, and, in Mary Russell, a surprisingly apt companion for the legendary detective.
Justice Hall brings back two colorful characters from earlier in the series: Bedouins Ali and Mahmoud Hazr (now known as Alistair and Marsh), who last appeared in O Jerusalem. At their request, Holmes and Russell take up the trail of the doomed heir to Justice Hall, who has been executed for cowardice in the bloody trenches of France. As the detectives strive to make sense of his death and to locate another heir to the family title, an attempt is made on the life of the man who's soon to be welcomed as the new duke. Holmes and Russell soon realize something sinister is afoot, and that they must untangle a web of deceit to discover which of the many suspects is taking steps to shorten the line of inheritance. Once again, King's satisfying tale stays true to the spirit of Conan Doyle's original stories while extending them into new terrain. --Benjamin Reese
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From Publishers Weekly
Sherlock Holmes has been much used and even more often abused by the many writers who have adopted and adapted him for their own purposes. What a delight then to find an author able to make profound changes while hewing so closely to the spirit of the original. With great verve and imagination King has extended Sherlock's career, pairing him with the superb Mary Russell. In the Edgar winner's sixth novel to feature the sleuthing duo (The Beekeeper's Apprentice, etc.), Mary is a fully accepted equal to her husband and partner in detection. From the opening knock on their door by a wounded visitor to the satisfying denouement, King has again crafted a sterling story. Two characters from a previous adventure (O Jerusalem), Ali Hazr and his brother, Mahmoud, have problems that require an understanding of British aristocracy and the unraveling of the story behind a British soldier's execution. King employs the English manor house to good effect, including the changes wrought by WWI, and seamlessly incorporates as background the horrific wartime executions of numerous British soldiers for desertion or cowardice. Separately and jointly, Mary and Sherlock utilize familiar tools: research, disguises, trips to London and France and the connections and expertise of Mycroft Holmes to ferret out crimes committed and contemplated. Though some Baker Street Irregulars may humbly beg to differ, King comes close to matching the fine intelligence and wit that informed Doyle's original adventures, providing irresistible entertainment.
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