A Monstrous Regiment of Women: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes : Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

  • by Laurie R. King
  • Narrated by Jenny Sterlin
  • Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes
  • 11 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Nero Wolfe Award
It is 1921 and Mary Russell - Sherlock Holmes's brilliant apprentice, now an Oxford graduate with a degree in theology - is on the verge of acquiring a sizable inheritance. Independent at last, with a passion for divinity and detective work, her most baffling mystery may now involve Holmes and the burgeoning of a deeper affection between herself and the retired detective. Russell's attentions turn to the New Temple of God and its leader, Margery Childe, a charismatic suffragette and a mystic, whose draw on the young theology scholar is irresistible. But when four bluestockings from the Temple turn up dead shortly after changing their wills, could sins of a capital nature be afoot? Holmes and Russell investigate, as their partnership takes a surprising turn.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Hang in there

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you liked the first one, you may like this one. It's more ... um ... intellectual? There's a lot of theological debate about women, which I really enjoyed but I can also see why some people would find it tedious. I thought it was fun and interesting, though it caused the plot to drag a bit. But I think I will listen to this again. There was a lot I think I might have missed the first time.

What did you like best about this story?

As with the first book, I can especially envision Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes. Which is ironic as that movie was made after the book was written. Either way, I think she captures the essence of SH.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. The first half is slow and I found I needed to put it down occasionally.

Any additional comments?

Spoiler alert. The "romance" between the heroine and SH is ridiculous, IMO. He's what, 40 years her senior? I feel like maybe the author confused herself with her character.

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- Sonja

Intelligent period mystery with Mary and Sherlock

'A Monstrous Regiment of Women' is the second novel in Laurie R. King's 'Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes' series. I have very mixed feelings regarding this book. Right until the end this was going to go on my favorites shelf and could only receive a 5 star rating but there is a twist at the end that has left me disappointed and uncomfortable for the future of the series. I'm still coming to terms with it. I waited to write my review because of these feelings. I did not want to unfairly overshadow the rest of what is otherwise a fantastic book.

It is 1921 in Oxford and London. Mary Russell has graduated and is about to debut her first Academic Article that is not attached to being a student. She is turning 21 which allows her to throw out her distasteful, money grubbing Aunt whom has held the purse strings to her inheritance. Ms. Russell is going through many transitions as a student to academic, child of controlled means to an heiress, girl to woman, and the strange tension between Sherlock Holmes and herself - she is no longer an apprentice and can she be trusted to handle a case on her own?

Mary finds herself in London waiting to come into her inheritance and runs into a friend, Veronica, from her schooling in Oxford. Veronica, or Ronny, pulls her into her life. Ronny is engaged but is breaking the engagement because her young man came home from the war broken with drug addictions she has not been able to pull him away from. The book delves deeply into the effects on society, gender roles, and personal self-worth World War I had on its survivors. Holmes is brought into to help Ronny's young man but that is not the only mystery in London.

Ronny is deeply involved in The Temple and a charismatic woman named Margaret. Margaret is rallying women who previously were nurses and running the country in the absence of the men sent to war. These women were left without a place at the end of the war. King explores the fact woman were required to vacate the jobs they had to marry, but marry who. They are "surplice women," there are too many women and few men returned. The men that did return came back damaged, and many weren't choosing to marry, preferring to fall into paths of self-destruction. To fill a gap The Temple is giving these young women something to do: teaching women to read and build literacy, providing safety and supplies to battered women and their families, providing medical care, and working to increase women's rights now that the vote has passed. The problem is when you have a large group of the disenfranchised that are being directed and utilized by a leader are their actions really charitable or could there be a deeper agenda at work? That is Mary's case.

The book is extremely well researched and written. It addresses the issues that left England ravaged after World War I head on. She also evokes strong emotion on behalf of the characters and the situation. I learned a lot regarding the time period and was sucked into the period concepts of class structure, feminism, gender roles, addiction, PTSD, human nature, etc. I believe King did a remarkable job exploring these subjects without being overly biased.

The situation that left me upset deals with how Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell develop their friendship/relationship as equal adults opposed to an apprentice mentor relationship. To say anything else would be an extravagant spoiler. I do recommend this book despite my issues with the ending, especially to anyone who enjoys mystery's, well researched historical fiction, and sociological studies.
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- Steph

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-11-2014
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio