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Month in review

Reviews
All My Friends Are Still Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley
Doctor Who: The Spear of Destiny by Marcus Sedgwick
Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger
A Female Focus: Great Women Photographers by Margot F. Horwitz
A Finder's Fee by Joyce and Jim Lavene
Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle
Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood
The Girl in the Well Is Me by Karen Rivers
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Ian Edginton
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel by Jess Keating
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding
Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper
Mission Mumbai by Mahtab Narsimhan
The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King
Mutt's Promise by Julie Salamon
The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale
The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco by Laura DiSilverio
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley
A Study in Sherlock edited by Laurie R. King
Tailing a Tabby by Laurie Cass
A Taste for Red by Lewis Harris
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

Miscellaneous
The invisible Pokémon Go player
Mind the gap (between reading and reviewing)
On reading diversely
Stop Americanizing imported English language books

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Murder of Mary Russell: 08/21/16

The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King

The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King is the 14th book in the Mary Russell series. Anyone familiar the Sherlock Holmes series will know to expect that the titular character won't actually end up dead. This book is clearly by title set up to be Mary's Final Problem.

Sherlock Holmes was supposed to die and stay dead at the conclusion of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The fans revolved. The Strand was beside itself. And thus he was revived and his "death" retconned away in "The Empty House."

The Murder of Mary Russell, though, is not a simple combination of The Final Problem and The Empty House, though most of the present day action does literally take place in an empty house. Instead, for reasons that baffle me (and other reviewers), the action is centered on Mrs. Hudson. Not her solving Mary's disappearance, rather her childhood and her life before Sherlock Holmes. In fact, her entire relationship as established in "A Study in Scarlet" is rewritten in a way that feels like it was inspired by Elementary rather than the thirteen books that have built this post-retirement world of Sherlock Holmes.

Long story short, I didn't like Mrs. Hudson's story. The writing was done in a clunky third person. It lacked Mary's vitality. After an amazing shocker of an opening chapter, I was crushed to then see a flash back going back about seventy or so years.

After slogging through about fifty pages of Clarissa "Clara" Hudson's family saga, I got back to a very brief chapter involving Mary and her immediate danger. Suddenly the book was back to being a nail biter.

Rather than keep slogging through Hudson's story, I chose to only read the present day bits. Guess what, just like in The Isle, there is nothing revealed about the plot that isn't later discovered by Mary or Sherlock. These long passages of Hudson's past are just filler. What's actually sitting here is a nice, tight, novella bloated up to novel length.

Two stars

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