I purchased this book at Borders, before its untimely demise. I was in the process of collecting all the titles in King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series and this one and the previous Monstrous Regiment of Women were purchased at about the same time.
In this installment, a friend of Russell and Holmes comes from the Middle East, bearing gifts. Dorothy Ruskin, an amateur archeologist, brings Mary a beautiful Italian puzzle box which contained a papyrus purported to contain a message from Mary Magdalene. When Ms. Ruskin is killed in a suspicious car accident before she can return to her dig in the Middle East, Russell and Holmes take it upon themselves to solve the mystery of her demise.
I wasn't thrilled with this book. The series is going quickly downhill for me. I was a huge fan of the first book, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, but less so with the last installment, and even less so with this one. There just wasn't enough action for me in this book. I wanted to see Russell and Holmes get into and out of more scrapes than they did, do more detecting. I don't know. There just seemed to be a lot of boring undercover stuff and then a conclusion about what happened. We didn't get to SEE them solve the case. I didn't like that. And I wanted to hear more about the letter from Mary Magdalene. I kind of wanted Russell to devote more time to investigating it. It seemed like that story line sort of trailed off. Maybe it will be picked back up in the future?? Anyway, I'd give this one three and a half out of five Whatevers. I didn't hate it; in fact, I did think it was pretty good. I just hope the next book has a little more to offer, otherwise I might not make it through the rest of the series.