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Mary Russell's War
Cover of Mary Russell's War
Mary Russell's War
And Other Stories of Suspense
Borrow Borrow Borrow
Laurie R. King illuminates the hidden corners of her beloved Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series in this dynamic short story collection.

In nine previously published short stories and one brand-new, never-before-seen Sherlock Holmes mystery—available together for the first time—Laurie R. King blends her long-running brand of crime fiction with historical treats and narrative sleight of hand. At the heart of the collection is a prequel novella that begins with England's declaration of war in 1914. As told in Mary Russell's teenage diaries, the whip-smart girl investigates familial mysteries, tracks German spies through San Francisco, and generally delights with her extraordinary mind—until an unimaginable tragedy strikes.

Here too is the case of a professor killed by a swarm of bees; Mrs. Hudson's investigation of a string of disappearing household items—and a lifelong secret; a revealing anecdote about a character integral to The God of the Hive; the story of Mary's beloved Uncle Jake and a monumental hand of cards; and a series of postcards in which Mary searches for her missing husband, Sherlock Holmes.

Last but not least, fans will be especially thrilled by Mary's account of her decision, at age ninety-two, to publish her memoirs—and how she concluded that Ms. King should be the one to introduce her voice to the world.

Praise for Laurie R. King's Mary Russell mysteries

"The most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today."—Lee Child

"The great marvel of King's series is that she's managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes's character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart."The Washington Post Book World

"A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company."The New York Times

"Erudite, fascinating . . . by all odds the most successful re-creation of the famous inhabitant of 221B Baker Street ever attempted."Houston Chronicle

"An engaging romp guaranteed to please . . . perfectly written in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."USA Today, on Pirate King

"Mesmerizing—another wonderful novel etched by the hand of a master storyteller. No reader who opens this one will be disappointed."—Michael Connelly, on The God of the Hive

"Historical fiction doesn't get any better than this."The Denver Post, on The Game
Laurie R. King illuminates the hidden corners of her beloved Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series in this dynamic short story collection.

In nine previously published short stories and one brand-new, never-before-seen Sherlock Holmes mystery—available together for the first time—Laurie R. King blends her long-running brand of crime fiction with historical treats and narrative sleight of hand. At the heart of the collection is a prequel novella that begins with England's declaration of war in 1914. As told in Mary Russell's teenage diaries, the whip-smart girl investigates familial mysteries, tracks German spies through San Francisco, and generally delights with her extraordinary mind—until an unimaginable tragedy strikes.

Here too is the case of a professor killed by a swarm of bees; Mrs. Hudson's investigation of a string of disappearing household items—and a lifelong secret; a revealing anecdote about a character integral to The God of the Hive; the story of Mary's beloved Uncle Jake and a monumental hand of cards; and a series of postcards in which Mary searches for her missing husband, Sherlock Holmes.

Last but not least, fans will be especially thrilled by Mary's account of her decision, at age ninety-two, to publish her memoirs—and how she concluded that Ms. King should be the one to introduce her voice to the world.

Praise for Laurie R. King's Mary Russell mysteries

"The most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today."—Lee Child

"The great marvel of King's series is that she's managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes's character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart."The Washington Post Book World

"A lively adventure in the very best of intellectual company."The New York Times

"Erudite, fascinating . . . by all odds the most successful re-creation of the famous inhabitant of 221B Baker Street ever attempted."Houston Chronicle

"An engaging romp guaranteed to please . . . perfectly written in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."USA Today, on Pirate King

"Mesmerizing—another wonderful novel etched by the hand of a master storyteller. No reader who opens this one will be disappointed."—Michael Connelly, on The God of the Hive

"Historical fiction doesn't get any better than this."The Denver Post, on The Game
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Every little girl should have an Uncle Jake.
The black sheep, the family rogue, whose exploits filled my child- hood with admonitions over the dire and delicious consequences of misbehaviour. When Uncle Jake wandered away from a family train-trip at the age of four, he was taken by Indians. When an adolescent Uncle Jake ran away to join the circus, he was nearly eaten by the lion. When Uncle Jake received a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories for his fourteenth birthday and began following suspected criminals around Boston, one of them turned his pistol on the boy at his heels.
Most astounding of all, every one of these cautionary tales turned out to be true.

    ***
    "Russell, I find that difficult to believe."
I blinked, pulling my gaze from the fire to the man slumped into the basket chair across the hearth.

    "Lower your eyebrow, Holmes. All those stories were quite true. At least, they all had factual elements."
"Why have I never heard of this mythic uncle before this?" "And how many years did you know Watson before you told him you had a brother?"
"That is not at all the same thing."
"No, of course not. Perhaps I wished to be certain you could not flee in horror, and needed to wait until you had made an honest woman of me."

    At that, his other eyebrow went up, either at the idea of Sherlock Holmes fleeing in horror, or at my being made honest. I relented.

    "Jake's been gone a long time. And I suppose . . . well, I tend not to dwell on things that remind me of my parents."

    He returned to the pipe he had been filling before my thoughts had broken into the amiable murmur of the evening fire.

    "Although I'll admit," I continued, "you may be right to some degree: I have little way of knowing if all the stories told about Jake were completely true. But I did confirm some of them, and I did know the man. Little about him would surprise me."

    Holmes dropped his spent match into the pieced-together Roman bowl that Old Will had dug up in the garden.

    "He died?"

    "I think so." The outstretched hand paused, the right eyebrow quirking upward again. "Jake loved me. I can imagine nothing short of death that would keep him from coming to see me."

    "Truly? There could be any number—"

    "Yes, I know. And it's true, prison is by no means impossible. Perhaps I should simply tell you about him."

    The basket chair emitted a symphony of creaks as he stretched his long legs towards the fire. He threaded his fingers together across the front of his once-bright dressing gown, preparing to listen. However, once interrupted, my tongue hesitated to go on. What could I say about my father's brother that did not come back to: "He left me, too"? Uncle Jake had tried hard to keep me from pain, but in the end ...
"So," prodded Holmes, "did those stories about the lad's troubles help to keep you in line?"
I had to smile at the thought.

    ***
    The cautionary tales about Jake's near-disasters had quite the opposite effect on my impressionable mind: namely, the temptation to follow in his footsteps became irresistible. Especially after he was banned from family mention in 1908, following an episode too shocking for consideration—"family" meaning, in the hearing of my grandparents.

    For some reason, my mother had a soft place for her brother-in- law. His few actual appearances were memorable—no doubt ex- plaining why they were few. I could have been no older than seven or eight when he arrived on a summer breeze, borne across the Channel to Sussex in an air balloon. He even managed to come down a) on dry land and b) within...
About the Author-
  • Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, the Stuyvesant & Grey novels Touchstone and The Bones of Paris, and the acclaimed A Darker Place, Folly, Califia's Daughters (written under the pen name Leigh Richards), and Keeping Watch. She lives in Northern California.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 29, 2016
    Fans of King’s Mary Russell novels, which starting with 1994’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice chart her relationship with Sherlock Holmes, will welcome this collection, which includes extracts from the novels, short stories, and the diary that Mary kept as a teen during WWI. Readers will learn about Mary’s wily Uncle Jake, Holmes’s marriage proposal, the couple’s eccentric wedding, and Mycroft Holmes’s political activities. The one selection original to this volume, “Stately Holmes,” is a Christmas tale, complete with a gaggle of children. The heart of the book, however, is Mary’s wartime diary, punctuated by headlines announcing war casualties and zeppelin attacks and interspersed with Mary’s not always kind assessment of the periodical installments of The Valley of Fear, the last Holmes novel. The text is richly illustrated with period photos. Admirers of Mary Russell will be pleased with what amounts to an autobiography of her early years, but those expecting the “suspense” promised in the subtitle may feel misled.

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