Laurie King is a third-generation native of San Francisco, but since her marriage to an Anglo-Indian professor she has lived briefly on five continents. She and her husband have two children. They live mostly in California
King first teamed Mary Russell with Sherlock Holmes in the riveting The Beekeeper's Apprentice. Then Mary was a vulnerable, bright 15-year-old. Now, in 1920, Mary is a week away from her 21st birthday and has finished her studies at Oxford, and the relationship between these two forceful, eccentric and indelibly etched characters is charged with sexuality and issues of authority. A chance meeting with a friend in London introduces Mary to Margery Childe, leader of the New Temple of God, a burgeoning institution in which feminism powers both theological inquiry and programs of social activism. Skeptical, analytical Mary, who concentrated on theology at Oxford, is reluctantly drawn toward Childe and the temple's inner circle, most of whom are wealthy, educated young women. After one of them is murdered, Mary persuades Holmes to help in the recovery of the dead woman's brother, who became addicted to heroin while in the war. While Holmes is so occupied, Mary learns about other unexpected deaths of temple members and determines to investigate. Coming into her considerable inheritance, she displays her new wealth, leaps into temple activities and is soon in danger that threatens her soul as much as her life. King builds a riveting plot on the era's fervent feminism and crushing social order. Even more gripping, however, are the internal dilemmas faced by the deeply rational, fiercely independent Mary as she struggles to accept both Childe's possible mysticism and her deepening affection for Holmes. King's second Russell/Holmes tale lives up to all the accomplished promise of the first. Paperback rights to Bantam; author tour. (Sept.)
'Crime fiction's most unlikely but utterly credible romance... Laurie King is the most interesting writer to emerge on the American crime fiction front in recent years' Val McDermid 'Brilliantly written' T. J. Binyon, Evening Standard (of The Birth of a New Moon)
YA‘Mary Russell, the apprentice to Sherlock Holmes first encountered in The Beekeeper's Apprentice (St. Martins, 1994), has established her own regime in and around Oxford just after World War I. Still drawn to Holmes, but seeking her own identity and the furtherance of women's rights, she pursues her studies as well as a case concerning wealthy young women and their spiritual mentor, Margery Childe. While captivated and encouraged by Margery's sermons and good works, Mary can't help wondering why several of these women have recently passed away, leaving much of their estates to Margery's association. She alternately seeks out and rebuffs Holmes. Mary has lost none of the spark and intelligence as well as individualism that so intrigued her mentor in the first book. Readers learn much of the condition of women, especially as the few remaining men return home from the war, and become aware of the class system and unequal social conditions of early 20th-century England, while engaged in a thoroughly entertaining romp through the meaner streets of London. A delight, and a worthy sequel.‘Susan H. Woodcock, King's Park Library, Burke, VA
King "found" this sequel to The Beekeeper's Apprentice (St. Martin's, 1994) in a trunk, presumably the property of narrator Mary Russell. Mary once again tells of her partnership with Sherlock Holmes, a juxtaposition of her youth (age almost 21) and Holmes's advanced middle age (59). Using disguise, guile, and ruse, Mary investigates murders in the inner clique of feminist preacher Margery Childe. Holmes assists, but the focus here is on Mary. The semiconvoluted, finely crafted late-Victorian prose is buttressed with exacting mots justes and surrounded by a nicely re-created 1920s London. A unique look at Holmes; for all collections.