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A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes- Expanded

This second in the Mary Russell series gives the reader even more insight into the WWI era of Britain, in this case in particular the attitudes pertaining to and about women of the time. I found the mystery wrapped around the female "preacher" to be a great contrast to ...
This second in the Mary Russell series gives the reader even more insight into the WWI era of Britain, in this case in particular the attitudes pertaining to and about women of the time. I found the mystery wrapped around the female "preacher" to be a great contrast to the murders that were happening around her. Laurie King's sense of timing enhances the relationship between the characters of Russell and Holmes. Anticipating the next repartee between these two is half the fun. I was reluctant at first to place Sherlock Holmes anywhere else but between the pages of Conan Doyle. Since reading three other books in the series I have found the partnership between Holmes and Russell to be an enhancement of Conan Doyles' masterpieces.

posted by Cher58 on April 11, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not for Everyone

If you are a Sherlock Holmes purist, I'd stay clear of this one. While it is well-written enough, its focus was clearly not on the science of deduction or the mystery itself (Which wasn't all that difficult for the reader to solve). Didn't Holmes often complain to Watso...
If you are a Sherlock Holmes purist, I'd stay clear of this one. While it is well-written enough, its focus was clearly not on the science of deduction or the mystery itself (Which wasn't all that difficult for the reader to solve). Didn't Holmes often complain to Watson about deviation away from the science of the crime for the sake of sensationlism? Anyway, this yellow back novel is entertaining for the less strict fans who may not notice the out of character qualities in Holmes, and delightful for fans who've always had a crush on him. But for the most part, purists (Like myself) should just read Beekeeper's Apprentice and be done with it!

posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2007

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes- Expanded

    This second in the Mary Russell series gives the reader even more insight into the WWI era of Britain, in this case in particular the attitudes pertaining to and about women of the time. I found the mystery wrapped around the female "preacher" to be a great contrast to the murders that were happening around her. Laurie King's sense of timing enhances the relationship between the characters of Russell and Holmes. Anticipating the next repartee between these two is half the fun. I was reluctant at first to place Sherlock Holmes anywhere else but between the pages of Conan Doyle. Since reading three other books in the series I have found the partnership between Holmes and Russell to be an enhancement of Conan Doyles' masterpieces.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    New Look at Old Hero

    I've raved about King's first book in this series to everyone I know, and book two tops it. A narrower potential audience for this book, because it weaves in and out of early feminism. You are either into that or not. I'm not and I found the book thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, it was thought provoking. "Bee Keepers Apprentice" was also thought provoking but not to this extent, because the change from Victorian to Edwardian culture was less advanced in that first book.

    Also "Apprentice" did a lot more character establishment which begins to pay off in "Regiment." King masterfully sets both Character and plot in a perfect setting. Writing about Sherlock Holmes' apprentice turned paramour without broaching feminism would be like writing a book about Marry Todd Lincoln without mentioning slavery.

    This is not to say that the focus of the book is feminism. These books are about Holmes and Russell. Even the mysteries in them, though compelling, are not the main point. Its this aspect of the series I find most surprising. The Style reflects an English Cozy style novel more than Doyle's Gothic original style. So character, period, and writing style, are changed and yet Holmes is not. Superb!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2014

    Very good.

    I liked the part where Russell was teasing Mrs. Hudson about wearing her apron to bed.

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  • Posted September 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A brilliant mystery

    This is the darkest book in the series, and one of my favorites. Holmes and Russell have been together for years now, and their relationship is going through another change. Russell is now an adult and ready to explore. When she takes a case of her her own, Holmes has to take a step back and let her go her own way. This book is the one that really sets the tone of their future partnership. Holmes' understated yet very intense emotions come even closer to the surface when Russell is threatened, adding another layer to their already complicated feelings.


    The character of Margery Childe is complex, unique and fascinating. She has such a mixture of passion, intelligence and ignorance. Her vibrant personality draws people to her like moths to a flame, including Russell. People around Margery are dying, but is she the one to blame? Margery's theological philosophy combined with Russell's expertise in the field lead to some interesting conversations that really get you thinking. Also, Margery is a wonderful illustration of both the pros and cons of extreme feminism.


    Drug use plays a very important role in the story. First with young Miles, the fiance of an old friend of Russell's who has returned damaged from the Great War. Then with Russell herself. Not wanting to give anything else away, I will just say that the latter half of this novel becomes deeply personal and painful for both Russell and Holmes.


    I became so engrossed in the characters of this novel, their flaws and imperfections, their emotions and reactions. This novel has some of the best character development I have ever seen. I would recommend this book to all lovers of mystery, historical fiction and well-written characters. It is not one to be missed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2010

    Good read

    Started with the Bee Keepers Apprentice not realizing this was the start of a series. Books can be read individually without needing the books before or after to follow. Enjoyed the 1st so have read all but the last 3 and I'm working my way to the end.
    I enjoyed the story line, plot, locations and characters.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2003

    Love all the Mary Russell Stories!

    This is one of my favorites of the Mary Russell series. I am an avid Holmes fan,and unlike other Holmes pastiches, this one lives up to the original.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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