Tuesday, February 27, 2007

O Jerusalem, by Laurie R. King

This book was 14 hours and 9 minutes long, which includes a long author interview, and was read by Jenny Sterlin. It is also the most recent in a series of novels that began with "The Beekeeper's Apprentice".

If you liked Sherlock Holmes, you will be glad to know that his career is not over. Laurie King has written a new series in which the great detective is much older, but who now has a young female partner who "does all the dirty work". And I am not talking about cooking and cleaning.

Mary Russell is a bookish young woman of nineteen who is also nimble, stealthy, and throws a mean knife. This would be enough to distinguish her in our present century, but Mary is working in post-WW1 Palestine. Holmes has been pulled out of mothballs to investigate a plot to kill a lot of dignitaries. This is part of a larger plot to destabilize the new Jewish settlements after the Balfour Declaration.

This book was written as an old Victorian era spy novel. There is little attention to Miss Russell's sexuality in her male-dominated world, although it would be unrealistic for her NOT to use her feminine allure if it comes in handy. And it does, but it merely annoys her to do so.

There is some blood, no sex, no swearing (that I can recall), and lots of words to stretch a lazy vocabulary. I understand these books are a favorite among a subset of teenage girls, and I can understand why. Mary is a young woman who demands to be taken seriously without being bitchy about it. She is a hard-working asset to the Old Master, and this was a pretty good book. I give it 3 stars.

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