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Bantam (April 28, 2009)
As a reader one of the best things that can happen to you is when you find a good, reliable author who delivers the goods each time out. Laurie R. King created the character of Mary Russell who is close to being the intellectual equal of Sherlock Holmes and acts as his partner in solving mysteries. The superb launch of the series with The Bee Keeper’s Apprentice left an indelible mark in the minds of mystery fans on both sides of the pond and was followed up with the excellent A Monstrous Regiment of Women. O Jerusalem actually takes place chronologically during the story of The Bee Keeper’s Apprentice.
The setting is Palestine 1919 shortly after the great Edmund Allenby had routed the Turks at Megiddo with tactics that foreshadowed the emergence of Blitzkrieg. Into the midst of this turmoil are cast Russell and Holmes on a mission for Mycroft as much as in flight to preserve their lives. Mycroft has assigned two men to Holmes – at least it would seem that way – Ali and Mahmoud though see it in a different light that they have been given a babysitting assignment of two firengi. Laurie R. King paints a vivid picture of the countryside and day to day life of British occupied Palestine and it is one in which, as has always been the case, plots are afoot to seed disinformation, disorder and disturbance in order to accomplish a task which has not been identified by British intelligence.
Naturally enough the world of Russell and Holmes would not be complete without at least on murder and Holmes’ own observational and makeup skills being put to the test. A murder of a spy in very deep cover by a person or persons unknown – at least until Holmes and Russell pick up the scent. O Jerusalem is a wonderfully engrossing read from cover to cover filled with detection, intrigue as well as historical and archeological facts that enlighten as well as entertain. It deserves a place on your shelf with Laurie R. Kings other novels.