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A Monstrous Regiment of Women [Mass Market Paperback]

Laurie R. King
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 1996
The dawn of 1921 finds Mary Russell, Sherlock Holmes’s brilliant young apprentice, about to come into a considerable inheritance. Nevertheless, she still enjoys her nighttime prowls in disguise through London’s grimy streets, where one night she encounters an old friend, now a charity worker among the poor. Veronica
Beaconsfield introduces Russell to the New Temple of God, led by the enigmatic, electrifying Margery Childe. Part suffragette, part mystic, she lives quite well for a woman of God from supposedly humble origins.

Despite herself, Russell is drawn ever deeper into Childe’s circle. When Veronica has a near-fatal accident–and turns out to be the fourth bluestocking in the group to meet with misadventure after changing her will–Russell and Holmes launch a quiet investigation. But the Temple may bring the newly rich Russell far closer to heaven than she would like.…

Frequently Bought Together

A Monstrous Regiment of Women + The Moor: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes + Justice Hall: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes
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From Amazon

In The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King came up with a completely original story that had Sherlock Holmes as one of its principal characters but was in no way part of the Holmes canon. The focus of that book was a young woman, Mary Russell. Now in A Monstrous Regiment of Women, Mary Russell's adventures as a student of the famous detective continue. A series of murders claims members of a strange suffrage organization's wealthy young female volunteers, and Mary, with Holmes in the background, investigates, little knowing what danger she personally faces.

Laurie R. King is also the author of the Edgar Award-winning novel A Grave Talent. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

King's second mystery tale of a young woman who's a protege of Sherlock Holmes.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I recently reread King's Mary Russell series after reading the newest edition, "The Game," and I think "A Monstrous Regiment of Women" is still my favorite, though I'd recommend the whole series to anyone who's interested in an intelligent turn-of-the-century mystery starring an acerbic, intelligent woman who is more than the equal of the famous Sherlock Holmes.
I think "A Monstrous Regiment of Women" is the book I most enjoyed because it shows Russell pursuing a case that is entirely her own -- mysterious deaths among the followers of a charismatic feminist preacher -- and coming into her own as a woman in every sense of the word. Sherlock Holmes is very much present, but this is Russell's story and Russell is one of the most interesting characters I've encountered in mysteries.
I also enjoy the book because of the developing romantic relationship between Holmes and Russell. I've read the howls of protest from fans of Sherlock Holmes over this series, but I find King's books more enjoyable than Arthur Conan Doyle's. I took a course in college on Holmes and always viewed the stories as a rather quaint, stodgy, stilted picture of the Victorian era. By giving him Russell as a partner, King gave him a much needed shot in the arm and human vulnerabilities. Why wouldn't this Holmes fall in love with his best friend and partner? They're clearly soul mates. King makes the 39-year age difference insignificant.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
"A Monstrous Regiment of Women," the sequel to "The Beekeeper's Apprentice," is a great book on its own, but is simply not the same as the first book. The charm is still there, but there's simply not the same spark.
Not to deter you, of course. It's a great story with a magnificent plot, the lovely story and plot line still there. It's simply the romantic undertones that are rather odd for my own feelings...
It is also extremely feministic. My father was...shall we say, adverse to the story...when he read it. He is not in favour of feminism, which drives all the women of the family insane. If you're anti-feministic, this movie will do the same to you as it has done to my father. The story, however, would make for an interesting movie. Many of these books would make for an interesting movie, actually, but this one would be very good for the modern day woman. That and "O Jerusalem," but the setting would be a little controversial for the times...
But back to the story: it is a wonderfully crafted story, but it simply isn't the same as the first book. You cannot help but be amazed at the ending, when you really learn about Mary like you never could have before. Enjoy the reading, and have fun!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this review FIRST! Feb. 11 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
WARNING: about half of the other reviews here spoil a major plot point in this book!
Safe reviews to read (as of this date):
(4 stars) Not Beekeeper, But Entertaining & a Little Thought Provoking, August 16, 2002
(4 stars) Not As Good As Beekeeper, But a Good Transition Book, July 30, 2002
(4 stars) Uneven, but still quite good, March 20, 2002
(4 stars) I like this series!, December 3, 2001
(5 stars) Amazing! Breathtaking!, November 4, 2001
(3 stars) Good story ruined by obssession, August 26, 2001
I can sympathise with reviewers who miss the deliciously temperamental 15-year old Mary Russel from the first book in this series. The Beekeeper's Apprentice remains one of my all-time favorite works of fiction, certainly mystery fiction. Mary Russel, in this book, is a step up in maturity, and (unfortunately?) a step down in the know-it-all confidence that was so appropriate to her youthful self. But for those reviewers who ditch the book entirely based on the matured Mary Russel, and all that comes with it, I heartily dissagree!
I loved this book enough to read it twice, and I've only done that with about 5 books in my life! The characters are still solid, the relationship between Russel and Holmes sparse but satisfying, and the plot, although esoteric, is energized and wonderfully mysterious. And the ending (be careful not to have it spoiled for you!)...my all time favorite of any book!
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Laurie King's preface explains that this "anonymous manuscript" was a difficult one to write for its author - filled with corrections and scratchings-out - and well it might be. Writing a novel featuring a combination of Sherlock Holmes, turn-of-the-century academia, feminism, theology (both Christian and Jewish) and a young woman is never going to be an easy task. King makes life significantly harder for herself by marrying Holmes and his partner Mary Russell at the end - a revelation which does not spoil the plot.
"A Monstrous Regiment Of Women" is still an engaging read. Holmes and Russell are as acerbic towards each other as they were in "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" and the plot takes its customary twists and turns. Where King falls down somewhat is in her attempts at infusing this second offering of the Mary Russell series with more overt feminism - in this case, via the charismatic preaching of the mysterious Margery Childe. The plot revolves around the mysterious deaths of women associated with Childe's organisation, and naturally the simplest way to solve it seems to be to infiltrate Russell into the organisation.
As a plot itself, "Monstrous Regiment" is entertaining. Childe's refusal to explain some of the more miraculous events connected to her works from both a mystery standpoint and the standpoint of Russell's theological studies, and the two women engage in some interesting Biblical analysis. It is King's constant bludgeoning of the reader with the feminist doctrines which Childe and Russell have adopted which halts the progress of the plot. From a sociological perspective, such work may be of interest, however it has no need to become the focal point of so much of this novel.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
It was great!! I love this author. Have read all her books. Does a great job Would recommend this author.
Published 12 months ago by Marlene
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense!
'A Monstrous Regiment of Women' is intense! Even the title gave me shivers. King did a great job depicting a cultist atmosphere, while challenging a more fundamental believe... Read more
Published on May 31 2009 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars The "romance" made me squirm too!
I agree with the reviewer who felt the romance between Holmes and Russell was just too unbelieveable. Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by M. Brooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as expected, however...
How else can I say it: if you liked Beekeeper, you will love this book. It has all the feel of an older Sherlockian tale, yet it is told from his equal with only his insight. Read more
Published on April 19 2004 by "sonnetinkinston"
4.0 out of 5 stars Is the book feminist?
This Mary Russell mystery has as a central character Margery, who saw in the plight of the "surplus women" in England after WWI a call from God for her and other women to... Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by Deborah B. Vaughan
5.0 out of 5 stars solid followup to the beekeeper's apprentice
It is 1921, England is still adjusting to life after World War I, and in her second outing from the pen of talented writer Laurie King, Mary Russell has moved on to studies at... Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2003 by audrey
1.0 out of 5 stars Say It Isn't So!
No, no, no. Why must authors feel the need to ruin perfectly good characters with awful sequels? This happened with Jean Auel's Ayla, and it's happened with Ms. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2002 by corglacier7
1.0 out of 5 stars No Shot, Sherlock.
Unfortunately I can't award zero stars.
Yes, feminists rave about Laurie King and her series: Imagine a latter-life Sherlock Holmes who "wrapped his arms around me and his... Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2002 by Illuminati
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Beekeeper, But Entertaining & a Little Thought Provoking
I have never read anything like the Mary Russell novels. Each is a really fascinating combination; they are primarily elaborate character sketches of Mary Russell, with her... Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2002 by Oddsfish
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