Saturday, April 7, 2012

Review: O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King

I bought my copy of O Jerusalem from Powells, probably with one of the many gift cards I've received for them over the years. It is the fifth published in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, but chronologically it falls after (or, really, in the midst of) the first book, The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

In this book, Holmes and Russell have traveled, under the auspices of Holmes' brother Mycroft, to the Middle East. Mycroft indicated that he had something for them to do there, but he never specified what that something was. When they arrive, the Hazr brothers, Mahmoud and Ali, meet them at the dock and take Holmes and Russell under their wing. Russell dresses as a young Arab boy, Amir, in order to move more freely through a culture which does not allow women much freedom. They soon discover several deaths, which seem unrelated, but are eventually revealed to be the work of one man, or one group. Holmes and Russell, with the help of Mahmoud and Ali, set out to solve the murders and prevent an occurrence which could destroy the semblance of peace that has come to Israel.

I liked this book more than I thought I would. I was not terribly excited about the setting - the Middle East does not really intrigue me. But King's descriptions of the Holy Land really pulled me in, and made me feel like I was really there. The desert scenes had me running for water, and the scenes in the city of Jerusalem gave me a very good idea of what that ancient home to three religions was like. The race to save the day at the end was as exciting as always in a Holmes/Russell novel. Recommended for those who are already a fan of the series, for any who love the original Holmes and are looking for more, or for anyone who likes a good mystery. Four out of five Whatevers. And I think this one qualifies as my second review for the Merely Mystery Reading Challenge!


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