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    Review of JUSTICE HALL by Laurie R. King (see her website)

    MARY RUSSELL NOVELS

    Bantam, 2003

    Reviewed by Cathy Richard Dodson (see her website)

    A re-release of JUSTICE HALL was published in 2003, with the great new “female” Sherlock Holmes cover now on all the Mary Russell novels. This novel is #6 in the Mary Russell mystery series, written around the young detective Mary Russell and her much older husband, the one and only Sherlock Holmes himself! Ms. King has created a wonderful study of 'what if' Holmes married late in life and trained his young wife in the sleuthing arts that made him a legend in his own time. Ms. King serves as 'editor' for these lost manuscripts as they come to her via various mysterious means, after which she 'edits' them into novels.

    JUSTICE HALL picks up shortly after Mary and Holmes have returned from solving another mystery in THE MOOR. When a wounded stranger appears on the doorstep of their home in Sussex Downs, they're astounded to realize it's not stranger at all but rather their friend Ali, whom they believed to be an Arab they met in another former novel, O, JERUSELUM. Imagine their surprise in discovering Ali and his 'brother' Mahmoud are in reality English lords.

    Ali has come to request their aid in rescuing Mahmoud from an unwanted inheritance. Unless Mahmoud can find a suitable heir who wants to take over Justice Hall, he'll be trapped in England forever, far from the Middle Eastern lands where his heart lies.

    As the mystery unravels, Mary and Holmes find themselves investigating the death of Gabriel Hughenfort, Mahmoud's nephew, killed by firing squad under suspicious circumstances during his military enlistment in WWI. As they proceed to investigate his death, their explorations lead them to Paris and Canada, where they unravel secrets that ultimately lead to unexpected bloodlines.

    But someone has killed once already, and this murderer waits for the heir back at Justice Hall. Before they can safely leave the estate in his hands, they must don Arab disguises for an English costume party, and lay a trap that will reveal the killer's identity.

    This wonderful novel once again captures the character of Sherlock Holmes, but also offers a refreshing and spirited young lady detective in the form of Miss Russell, an independent woman even in her post-Victorian decade. JUSTICE HALL is more about 'mood' than forensics, and readers enjoying a romp through a fabulous Victorian estate will be delighted by the book. While Ms. King's narratives tend to run a bit heavy, the mystery has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end.

    See more BooksForABuck.com reviews of mysteries by Laurie R. King.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 2/28/06

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