Justice Hall Mass Market Paperback – Feb 4 2003
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Not only was the mystery tightly packed and fairly suspenseful (without resorting to the Doyle trick of withholding all the pertinent information until the denoument), but it did seem a bit of a love letter to Jolly Olde England. I started it one evening and ended up staying awake very late the next to finish it. It was a highly visual book, and the use of the houses and landscape as characters themselves as well as symbols of the forces at work on the main characters worked very well.
I agree with those who noted that Russell and Holmes no longer exchange constant witty banter. I also agree that they seem a little more like room mates than a married couple, although I'm not quite sure what would change that (eroticism not being a part of the series). However, I didn't find this detracting from the book, which was, after all, not about their relationship with each other, but about the friends they met in Palistine, about the way that place and expectations of others can transform an individual, and about the unfolding mystery of murder and attempted murder. The earlier books were more centered around that relationship as it grew, with the mysteries as the glue. Now that relationship is established, apparently comfortable, and would probably be rather dull to closely inspect in a novel. I rather enjoyed seeing Russell with other people.
It's a strong showing in the series and a good read.
One would think that any attempt to resurrect such an iconic figure by another author would be both a waste and a travesty. Not so with the very gifted Laurie R. King who presents her sixth in a series pairing Holmes with his partner, Mary Russell, rather than the redoubtable Watson.
Russell, as readers of the author's earlier works have learned, is a match in every way for the formidable detective. Her intellectual acumen and derring do are once again showcased when they pair journey to Southeastern England to help their old friends (introduced in "O Jerusalem") Muhammed and Ali Hazr.
As Muhammed and Ali share their dilemma with Russell and Holmes the scene shifts to a beautiful, mysterious mansion in Sussex, Justice Hall. The quartet are soon confronted with inexplicable events that both confound and invigorate Holmes and Russell.
Once again the author presents a story taut with suspense and rich in period detail.
- Gail Cooke
Justice Hall does have some good points--the development of Ali and Mahmoud (although a bit more background would be helpful), the setting, one or two fascinating new characters--which I thorougly enjoyed. However, it lacks a center, a point around which the story revolves. In BEEK, this was..well, a number of things, including Russell's apprenticeship and the development of her friendship with Holmes; in MREG, it was the change in their relationship; et cetera. While reading Justice Hall, I was never sure what the conflict was. Added to this were a number of small problems, such as the occasional phrase coming out of Russell's mouth that sounded like Kate Martinelli (another King character). My guess is that King was writing two books at once, and this one had to be finished in a hurry for a deadline.
By far, however, my biggest problem with the book is that neither Russell or Holmes is really present. Russ puts up with all sorts of things she never would have in the other books--and occasionally talks like a 2002 American. Her theological interests are a side note at best. The oft-absent Holmes is not himself either. I can't list all the evidence; there's too much.
My advice is that if you follow the Russell series, read the book for continuity, for Ali and Mahmoud, and for Iris Sutherland, who is a jewel. The story is interesting enough to keep you reading, though quite convoluted and at times dull. If you need lots of excitement to keep you interested but still want a King book, I'd recommend checking out Night Work, the latest in the Kate Martinelli series.
Most recent customer reviews
Mary Russell mysteries should be read and reread many times by all.Published 3 months ago by acesmom
I only recently discovered the Russell-series, so I had the advantage to read all the books in short order. Read morePublished on May 15 2004 by alohabr
I grew up on Superman, the Lone Ranger, Sherlock Holmes, and assorted other male heros. So the heros of my own novels tend to be male. Read morePublished on April 14 2004 by Jacqueline
Laurie R King's "Justice Hall" is the latest entry in her superb series featuring Sherlock Holmes (yes, the famous detective) and his wife and partner in investigation... Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by 3rdeadly3rd
"Justice Hall" is the sixth in Laurie R. King's wonderful series about the incomparable detective duo of Mary Russell and her partner Sherlock Holmes. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2004
I so enjoyed this mystery! All right, there's really not much between Russell and Holmes. Certainly Holmes is almost nonexistent... Read morePublished on July 21 2003
I'm a fan of Laurie King - Beekeeper's Apprentice was really great. I enjoyed reading this book - read it straight through in one sitting - but I think that she is running out of... Read morePublished on July 12 2003 by Avid reader
Before you read this, you really must read the fifth book of the series, "O Jerusalem." Without this volume, this book makes no real sense. Read morePublished on June 4 2003
I've read and thoroughly enjoyed all the Russell-Holmes novels, starting with THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE, the best of this series and one of the most wondrous exercises in... Read morePublished on May 17 2003 by Jenny Hanniver