Thursday, July 18, 2019

Book Review: A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King

A Monstrous Regiment of Women
Author: Laurie R. King
Series: Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes (Book 2)
Publication: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (July 15, 1995)

Description: 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 in A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King.

My Thoughts: Mary has graduated from Oxford and is just about to turn twenty-one and finally claim her inheritance and independence from her despised aunt when she encounters old friend Ronnie Beaconsfield in London. Ronnie introduces her to Margery Childe who is running a religious, feminist, charitable organization.

Mary is fascinated when she hears Margery speak and is intrigued by her take on theology. She is also intrigued by the various charitable and political activities of temple since they fit into her feminist viewpoints. But things are not all wonderful. There have been a series of deaths of women associated with the Temple who just happen to have included the Temple in their wills for substantial amounts.

When Ronnie is almost a victim of a fatal accident, Mary begins to put things together to investigate who might have a reason to want to collect these young women's gifts long before they should. She cannot suspect Margery herself but those around her are certainly suspects.

When Mary herself is kidnapped and held by a kidnapper who tries to addict her to heroin, it takes a while for Sherlock to realize she is missing and then to find her. Mary's kidnapping certainly clarified her feelings for Holmes and his for her which had been a source of stress for both of them since Mary had grown up.

I loved the historical setting and the intriguing information about theology that is included in the book. I also loved seeing the aftereffects of World War I both on the men who fought it and the women who stayed at home. Women who had substantial roles in work and society weren't going to be stuffed back into their roles as subordinate to men and confined to household duties.

This is quite an intriguing and thought-provoking historical mystery where the mystery plays equally with the other themes of social change and religion.

Favorite Quote:
She looked back instantly at the page, removed her finger from the line, and seizing the book in both hands, spoke in a single, flowing sentence.

"The boy has a cup of tea for his mother," she read, and repeated it, then looked up again and laughed, her eyes shining with the suddenly comprehended magic of the written word. Her teeth were mostly gums, she smelt of unwashed wool, her hair lay lank, and her skin wanted milk and fruit, but for the moment, she was beautiful.
I bought this one for my Kindle June 2. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!