"Fans of Martinelli will find much to enjoy.... [Martinelli's] contented home life contrasts nicely with the grim details of her job."—Seattle Times
"[A] cohesive, compelling, wildly original narrative.... King works the story-within-a-story concept exceptionally well. But the best thing about The Art of Detection is Kate [Martinelli].... and the book's upbeat and hugely satisfying ending reminds us that there are simply not enough Kate Martinelli books to go around."—Miami Herald
"Sometimes a mystery takes one’s breath away with its impeccable, inexorable logic. King makes two such tales here, whose wheels interlock with a perfect, audible click.... A tour-de-force and a great read."—Booklist, starred review
The voice of Holmes that comes through in this first-person narrative seems far removed from that of Conan Doyle's fictional icon. But this Holmes is entirely consistent with the character who figures in another King series, which has him married to a clever young woman who proves invaluable to his sleuthing. Working solo here, Holmes makes grand work of a mystery that, however dicey its origins, has plenty of period atmosphere and dovetails nicely into Kate's present-day investigation.
The New York Times
Echoing King's narrative, Bresnahan's reading takes the leisurely route, bypassing the thrills and chills of the average mystery-thriller in favor of a more scenic tour. Her voice soft, mellifluous, eminently reasonable provides a pleasing carriage for a listener's journey. King's novel merges characters from her two best-known series: San Francisco detective Kate Martinelli and Sherlock Holmes's wife, Mary Russell. Martinelli is conducting an investigation of the mysterious death of an avid collector of Holmesian memorabilia. Bresnahan is assisted by Mackenzie, whose plummy Oxbridge tones in the Holmes story chillingly echo the twists and turns of Martinelli's investigation. The admixture of Bresnahan and Mackenzie makes for an occasionally surprising but mostly enjoyable combination, as if King's novel, two different books conjoined into one, was also supplied with two paired readings. It is Bresnahan, though, who is the more pleasurable to listen to, her unorthodox delivery outshining Mackenzie's Masterpiece Theatre diction. Simultaneous release with the Bantam hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 24). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The body of Sherlock Holmes expert Philip Gilbert is discovered at an abandoned missile site, and San Francisco police inspector Kate Martinelli and her partner Al Hawkin get the call. They find themselves in a world where dressing up in late 19th-century clothing is commonplace, Sherlock Holmes is a real person, and amateur armchair detection is a regular parlor game. Despite the general reticence of Philip's Sherlockian colleagues, Kate and Al solve the case. King has made excellent use of her own Sherlock Holmes expertise in setting the scene for an odd, semiliterary investigation. She even includes excerpts from a "lost Sherlock Holmes manuscript." While the eccentric members of the Sherlockian dining group may be drawn from the classic mystery tradition, the detective work is strictly 21st century. Alyssa Bresnahan's low-key reading of the main text contrasts well with Robert MacKenzie's dramatic recitals of the "lost manuscript." An entertaining audiobook, especially for fans of the cozy mystery genre. Recommended for moderate to large libraries (and all Sherlock Holmes aficionados).-I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-The mores of 1920s San Francisco are juxtaposed with those of today as detective Kate Martinelli investigates a murder in this straightforward police procedural. At the victim's home, she discovers a typewritten manuscript that may be an undiscovered story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which becomes the centerpiece of a mystery that includes a Sherlock Holmes dinner group, a dead man found in an unlikely place, and a plethora of suspects. Newcomers to the series may have a difficult time keeping all the players and the complexities of their connections straight, but the uniqueness of Martinelli's family and friends is engaging. The setting of San Francisco and the Marin headlands, both present and past, adds another layer of depth to the realities of everyday life in a police inspector's work. King's prose is somewhat dry and rather pithy in places and the plot stretches a bit thin at times, but the sheer fascination of following Occam's razor will draw readers in. Teens who enjoy whodunits and Sherlock Holmes will enjoy The Art of Detection.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
King's two series had already been drawing closer together in Locked Rooms (2005), which sent Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell to San Francisco. Now Det. Kate Martinelli, SFPD (Night Work, 2000, etc.), meets Holmes, or at least a bunch of Holmesians. Hours after Philip Gilbert's body is found tucked into a gun emplacement in Golden Gate Park, the police check out his home near Russian Hill and conclude that he was an obsessive fan of Sherlock Holmes who collected Holmes memorabilia, headed a local Baker Street Irregulars offshoot called the Strand Diners, presided over its dinners in period attire and had recently come into possession of a revelatory manuscript. Unimpressed by the shadow of Holmes and originally skeptical about the manuscript, Kate changes her mind when she reads it. The embedded adventure, nearly 100 pages long, recounts the arrival of "Mr. Sigerson" (one of Holmes's trademark pseudonyms) in San Francisco; his commission by a transvestite chanteuse to find her, or his, missing swain; and his discovery of the young man's body in the exact place Gilbert's own corpse would turn up 80 years later. Whodunit both times, and why has the second crime scene been made up so ritualistically to resemble the first?One of the two solutions is a letdown, but King's imagination is as generous as ever, and her use of the Sherlockian canon to ventilate contemporary issues is clever and impassioned.