The Murder of Mary Russell

By Laurie R. King

He shook out the match and dropped it into the laden bowl. “I met Clarissa Hudson in the autumn of 1879, when Samuel was an infant. A year later, she returned from Australia without him. Three months after that, in January, 1881, Watson and I took rooms in her house. Outside of that,” he said, “I made her a promise. That so long as her past remained behind her, I would make no further enquiries into her life, pursue no more investigation into any crimes and misdemeanours she might have committed. From that day, her slate was clean. I gave her my word,” he reiterated.

One of the very best in the series. It is Brilliantly conceived and executed, building on one of Holmes’ early cases written by Arthur Conan Doyle. At first, I was wondering what in the world Ms King was thinking going into so much detail about Mrs. Hudson’s parents, their courtship, her birth and terrible childhood, etc. but somehow, it worked. I still think she could have cut back on some of that, but the upshot was a very deep character study which made the former (almost)nonentity a fascinating and remarkable woman. Sherlock Holmes introduction into her life (at age 17 or 18) takes place on page 137 and it is classic. The mystery leaps back into the present at page 200 and all of the threads are tied together at the remarkable and thrilling finish.**5 stars out of 5**

April 22, 2016

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