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Garment of Shadows: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Sep 4 2012

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (Sept. 4 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807998
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #322,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“The great marvel of King’s series is that she’s managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes’s character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart.”—The Washington Post Book World
Praise for Garment of Shadows
“As always, the relationship between Holmes and Russell is utterly understated yet traced with heat and light.”—Booklist (starred review)
“[A] taut tale . . . original and intriguing . . . This tantalizing glimpse into the life and times of a rapidly evolving Arabic society has remarkable resonance for our own uncertain times.”—Publishers Weekly
“Those new to the series are in for a treat.”—Bookreporter

The award-winning novels of Laurie R. King are . . .
“A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company.”—The New York Times
“Erudite, fascinating . . . by all odds the most successful re-creation of the famous inhabitant of 221B Baker Street ever attempted.”—Houston Chronicle
“Intricate clockworks, wheels within wheels.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Imaginative and subtle.”—The Seattle Times
“Impossible to put down.”—Romantic Times
“Remarkably beguiling.”—The Boston Globe

About the Author

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and the acclaimed novels A Darker Place, Folly, Keeping Watch, and Touchstone. She lives in Northern California.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read the first six Laurie R. King- Russell /Holmes novels and they were brilliant-rich in Metaphor/tension/scripted perfectly. ... the last three novels in this series I did not buy as I could tell at a glance they were outlines for a novel to be written at a later date. The author has put these books on the market and at 20 bucks a shot-I demand that the author pay me my money back for this one listed above- Garment of Shadows-She should be ashamed for not recognizing that these books especially the Garment of Shadows is an outline for a novel- not a novel.Nothing happened in this book-there is no tension/King relies on past novels like Justice Halls to get the reader excited that the Hazr's Brothers are in this story. But its old re-harsh.And this novel is about making some money .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story was smart and entertaining, as virtually all of the stories in this series. The physical quality of the book is very poor, though. The paper is cheap feeling and the edges of the pages are very unevenly cut. One cannot flick through the pages because the edges are all different widths. Amazon was very good about sending out new copies (I'd ordered two)when I called to express my dissatisfaction. They even sent them out priority post, so I got the new ones within a few days. However, the quality of the books was no better, and one of them was even dirty. The main fault lies with the publisher or printer. It's too bad they put such a good story into such a cheap package.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a bit disapointed by "Pirate King", the previous book in the Mary Russell collection, where it seemed that investigation was relegated to the back burner. Mary Russell seemed to be less of her wonderful self. But in "Garment of Shadows", she and Sherlock Holmes are back with a vengance! The suspense and adventure are there, and we see Mary's character evolving yet again. An excellent read and re-read!
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Format: Paperback
I like Sherlock Holmes, and Laurie R King's versions of Sherlock have a wife instead of Dr. Watson if different and entertaining, I have like all of her books with Mary Russel and Sherlock in them
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 356 reviews
150 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sex, drugs, & the active/passive voice July 8 2012
By Julia Walker - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I took a look at some other reviews just now, and I've got to say, I'm a bit shocked. I had expected all 5-stars and tearful rejoicing at the return of Laurie R King to the land of OMG-I-can't-wait-a-whole-year-for-the-next-book authors.

And, indeed, there are some reviews which say almost exactly that -- with an extra layer of "and thank heavens King is back on form."


But what shocked me were the 3 reviews making, roughly, this argument:

~there's too much Mary Russell in this Russell/Holmes book
~there's too much history and politics to learn
~there's not enough action [in a book where no one sits down for 5 minutes altogether unless concussed or chained]
~there's not enough Sherlock Holmes.

According to this trio, King should return to "the premise that Sherlock Holmes had lived into an amazingly hearty old age, adopted an apprentice and then fallen in love with -- and married her.

Holmes, you'll note, operates in the active voice, while Russell is his to adopt, to love, and to marry. Wait!?!! Did I miss our mass relocation to the 1950s? (1850s, 1750s, 16 . . ???)

Now I'm not saying that King hasn't deserved some chiding in the last few years -- 2 half-books passing as wholes and pirates-light (or even lite.) But, viewed from a distance, we might see a larger pattern here.

The trip to India gives us an adventure with Russell and Holmes separated for considerable chunks of action, and -- more symbolically -- the threshold-crossing act of Mary cutting her iconic hair. The San Francisco book (one of my favorites) is a foray into Mary's childhood as well as a long-delayed space for her to consider herself as a woman, not as a mind in a woman's body. The Russell we meet in The Bee-Keeper's Apprentice is a product of circumstances, as much as of courage and intellect. She has spent her adolescence reacting from and against things beyond her control; learning has been her North star and she had let that guide her to the exclusion of nearly everything else. The next novels follow rapidly, giving Mary little time to develop an introspective analysis of herself as a human female. She doesn't give herself a 10th the time and attention that she lavishes on her scholarship, nor is she aware that she needs to.

But in Locked Rooms, she gets a space and time for that sort of personal contemplation.

I wish I could say something positive about the next two books, but I'm still furious with King about that "to be continued" followed by Puck of Pook's Whatever. But, in the context of this review, I can make a case for the books as coming-of-age novels for Russell, who plays the steady anchor to an atypically emotional Holmes. And then there's the pirate book, which is way better (sorry for the technical reviewer language) than the two half-books, but which seems largely contrived to give Russell a sort of Spring Break with detective interludes.

In this book, Garment of Shadows, Russell and Holmes weigh in as equals. Yes, yes, Holmes has that reputation, which casts its shadow even as he travels under the name Vernet, but by giving Russell the lion's share of the action, King evens that up nicely. And when there's saving to be done, Russell does it.

And then there's the drawing-room scene (actually, it is a library) much complained about by one reviewer. What? The library scene is the money shot, the pay-off, the natural progression, as Russell out-deduces not only a very very clever shadow figure, but Holmes himself.

Now I have absolutely no idea if King was trying for this sort of progression -- I just read books, I don't write them, well, I don't write mysteries -- but it seems, at the very least, a possible parsing of the series. Read this volume and see~

oh yes, sorry, TEARFUL REJOICING at King's return to the land of the 5-star review . . .

pps And I second Sharon Isch's plea for another stand-alone of the caliber of Touchstone and Folly.

ppps Ms King? Oxford? branchy between towers? are we really to believe that Russell, however in need of some interior development, can stay away from lark-charmèd Oxford -- her natural environment -- for this long? can go without her work for over a year? can read so very little????
117 of 120 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to classic King style: More Sherlock, more suspense, no padding. 4.5 stars July 6 2012
By Sharon Isch - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
A few things longtime fans of the series should know straight off: 1. This novel has a confusing start and a complex, convoluted ending, but I think, by the time it's all over, most readers will have agreed that that turned out to be a GOOD thing. 2. Our heroine's husband, Sherlock Holmes, is back as a full-fledged co-star in this one, something many King fans have been begging for for a long time. 3. The high page-count padding that others of us have groused about is gone. 4. This 13th in the series starts out looking like it's a going to be a sequel to the last one, "Pirate King," but it really isn't, except as a way of explaining how the couple happened to be in Morocco (to the relief of this reader, who didn't much like that book).

Other things you may find worth knowing from the get-go: 1. The story opens with heroine/narrator Mary Russell waking up with a head injury, not knowing where she is or even WHO she is. Readers will spend much of those early pages sharing her amnesic confusions over what's going on and where this story is headed. 2. Unless you know the basics of Moroccan colonial and tribal history circa 1924, you may find it useful to consult an encyclopedia or Wikipedia for a quick primer before digging in. 3. The Hazr brothers, who play key roles in this novel, have appeared previously in the series-in O Jerusalem (Mary Russell Novels)(1999) and Justice Hall (Mary Russell Novels)(2002). 4. Arabic words crop up frequently, but only a few are defined in the glossary at the back. 5. Sherlock's "cousin," Morocco's Resident General Lyautey, better known as the Marachal, was a real person.

Plenty of high drama, as France, Spain, Germany and England try to assert their colonial dominance and tribal leaders plot against them and each other to claim their country as their own. Lots of interesting characters and nail-biting suspense here. Probably will appeal more to longtime fans of the series. But also to fans of history mysteries, like Barry Unsworth's Land of Marvels: A Novel

Has anyone else noticed that it's been a long while since King gave us a non-series, stand-alone thriller? Would love to see another one of those sometime soon.
UPDATE 6/29/13: Seems I am (we are?) about to get my/our wish.
King has a new stand-alone thriller coming out September 10, 2013 titled "The Bones of Paris" !!!
5.0 out of 5 stars She's back! June 22 2016
By MsProspero - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
King has redeemed herself (from an overly long and disappointing Pirate King) great opening, and the pace and story are sustained throughout.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 26 2016
By Sylvia Goode - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved it!! Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are two of my favorite literary characters. Keep them coming Laurie!
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 12 2016
By Charen Urban - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved the Morrocan setting & Middle East flare.