Justice Hall (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #6)

Justice Hall (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series #6)

by Laurie R. King

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553381719
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/2009
Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series , #6
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 145,669
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, the Stuyvesant & Grey novels Touchstone and The Bones of Paris, and the acclaimed A Darker Place, Folly, and Keeping Watch. She lives in Northern California.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Home, my soul sighed. I stood on the worn flagstones and breathed in the many and varied fragrances of the old flint-walled cottage: Fresh beeswax and lavender told me that Mrs. Hudson had indulged in an orgy of housecleaning in the freedom of our prolonged absence; the smoke from the wood fire seemed cleaner than the heavy peat-tinged air I'd been inhaling in recent weeks; the month-old pipe tobacco was a ghost of its usual self; and beneath it all the faint, dangerous, seductive tang of chemicals from the laboratory overhead.

And scones.

Holmes grumbled his way past, jostling me from my reverie. I stepped back out into the crisp, sea-scented afternoon to thank my farm manager, Patrick, for meeting us at the station, but he was already away down the drive, so I closed the heavy door, slid its two-hundred-year-old bolt, and leant my back against the wood with all the mingled relief and determination of a feudal lord shutting out an unruly mob.

Domus, my mind offered. Familia, my heart replied. Home.

"Mrs. Hudson!" Holmes shouted from the main room. "We're home." His unnecessary declaration (she knew we were coming; else why the fresh baking?) was accompanied by the characteristic thumps and cracks of possessions being shed onto any convenient surface, freshly polished or not. At the sound of her voice answering from the kitchen, I had to smile. How many times had I returned here, to that ritual exchange? Dozens: following an absence of two days in London when the only things shed were furled umbrella and silk hat, or after three months in Europe when two burly men had helped to haul inside our equipage, consisting of a trunk filled with mud-caked climbing equipment, three crates of costumes, many arcane and ancient volumes of worldly wisdom, and two-thirds of a motor-cycle.

The only time I had come to this house with less than joy was the day when Holmes and my nineteen-year-old self had been acting out a play of alienation, and I could see in his haggard features the toll it was taking on him. Other than that time, to enter the house was to feel the touch of comforting hands. Home.

I caught up my discarded rucksack and followed Holmes through to the fire; to tea, and buttered scones, and welcome.

Hot tea and scalding baths, conversations with Mrs. Hudson, and the accumulated post carried us to dinner: urgent enquiries from my solicitor regarding a property sale in California; a cheerful letter from Holmes' old comrade-at-arms, Dr Watson, currently on holiday in Egypt; a demand from Scotland Yard for pieces of evidence in regard to a case over the summer. Over the dinner table, however, the momentum of normality came to its peak over Mrs. Hudson's fiery curry, faltered with the apple tart, and then receded, leaving us washed up in our chairs before the fire, listening to the silence.

I sighed to myself. Each time, I managed to forget this phase--or not forget, exactly, just to hope the interim would be longer, the transition less of a jolt. Instead, the drear aftermath of a case came down with all the gentleness of a collapsing wall.

One would think that, following several taut, urgent weeks of considerable physical discomfort on Dartmoor, a person would sink into the undemanding Downland quiet with a bone-deep pleasure, wrapping indolence around her like a fur coat, welcoming a period of blank inertia, the gears of the mind allowed to move slowly, if at all. One would think.

Instead of which, every time we had come away from a case there had followed a period of bleak, hungry restlessness, characterised by shortness of temper, an inability to settle to a task, and the need for distraction--for which long, difficult walks or hard physical labour, experience taught me, were the only relief. And now, following not one but two, back-to-back cases, with the client of the summer's case long dead and that of the autumn now taken to his Dartmoor deathbed, this looked to be a grim time indeed. To this point, the worst such dark mood that I had experienced was that same joyless period just under five years before, when I was nineteen and we had returned from two months of glorious, exhilarating freedom wandering Palestine under the unwilling tutelage of a pair of infuriating Arabs, Ali and Mahmoud Hazr, only to return to an English winter, a foe after our skins, and a necessary pretence of emotional divorcement from Holmes. I am no potential suicide, but I will say that acting one at the time would not have proved difficult.

Hard work, as I say, helped; intense experiences helped, too: scalding baths, swims through an icy sea, spicy food (such as the curry Mrs. Hudson had given us: How well she knew Holmes!), bright colours. My skin still tingled from the hot water, and I had donned a robe of brilliant crimson, but the coffee in my cup was suddenly insipid. I jumped up and went into the kitchen, coming back ten minutes later with two cups of steaming hot sludge that had caused Mrs. Hudson to look askance, although she had said nothing. I put one cup beside Holmes' brandy glass and settled down on a cushion in front of the fire with the other, wrapping both hands around it and breathing in the powerful fragrance.

"What do you call this?" Holmes asked sharply.

"A weak imitation of Arab coffee," I told him. "Although I think Mahmoud used cardamom, and the closest Mrs. Hudson had was cinnamon."

He raised a thoughtful eyebrow at me, peered dubiously into the murky depths of the cup, and sipped tentatively. It was not the real thing, but it was strong and vivid on the palate, and for a moment the good English oak beams over our heads were replaced by the ghost of a goat's hair tent, and the murmur of the flames seemed to hold the ebb and flow of a foreign tongue. New flavours, new dangers, and the sun of an ancient land, the land of my people; trials and a time of great personal discovery; our Bedu companions, Mahmoud the rock and Ali the flame. Odd, I thought, how the taciturn older brother had possessed such a subtle hand at the cook-fire, and had made such an art of the coffee ritual.

No, the dark substance in our cups was by no means the real thing, but both of us drank to the dregs, while images from the weeks in Palestine flickered through the edges of my mind: dawn over the Holy City and mid-night in its labyrinthine bazaar; the ancient stones of the Western Wall and the great cavern quarry undermining the city's northern quarter; Ali polishing the dust from his scarlet Egyptian boots; Mahmoud's odd, slow smile of approval; Holmes' bloody back when we rescued him from his tormentor; General Allenby and the well-suited Bentwiches and the fair head of T. E. Lawrence, and--and then Holmes rattled his newspaper and the images vanished. I fluffed my fingers through my drying hair and picked up my book. Silence reigned, but for the crackle of logs and the turn of pages. After a few minutes, I chuckled involuntarily. Holmes looked up, startled.

"What on earth are you reading?" he demanded.

"It's not the book, Holmes, it's the situation. All you need is an aged retriever lying across your slippers, we'd be a portrait of family life. The artist could call it After a Long Day; he'd sell hundreds of copies."

"We've had a fair number of long days," he noted, although without complaint. "And I was just reflecting how very pleasant it was, to be without demands. For a short time," he added, as aware as I that the respite would be brief between easy fatigue and the onset of bleak boredom. I smiled at him.

"It is nice, Holmes, I agree."

"I find myself particularly enjoying the delusory and fleeting impression that my wife spends any time at all seated at the feet of her husband. One might almost be led to think of the word 'subservient,' " he added, "seeing your position at the moment."

"Don't push it, Holmes," I growled. "In a few more minutes my hair will be--"

My words and the moment were chopped short by the crash of a fist against the front door. The entire house seemed to shudder convulsively in reaction, and then Holmes sighed, called to Mrs. Hudson that he would answer it, and leant over to deposit his newspaper on the table. However, I was already on my feet; it is one thing to relax in the presence of one's husband and his long-time housekeeper, but quite another to have one's neighbour or farm manager walk in and find one in dishabille upon the floor.

"I'll see who it is, Holmes," I said. He rose, maintaining the pipe in his hand as a clear message to our intruder that he had no intention of interrupting his evening's rest, and tightening the belt of his smoking jacket with a gesture of securing defences, but he stayed where he was while I went to repel boarders at our door.

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Justice Hall (Mary Russell Series #6) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was excellent, especially in connection with O, Jerusalem (which was also amazing.) In fact, that was one of the things I appreciated about this installment - we got to see more of some great characters besides Russell and Holmes. This is by far one of my favorite books in this series
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved JUSTICE HALL. I thought the mystery itself, the dialogue, the twists and shocks, the compelling emotional drama all set it above the last two installments. I haven't enjoyed one of Ms. King's Mary Russell novels so much since the third. I am a big fan and can't wait to read THE GAME.
RevStyles More than 1 year ago
Usually when I am reading a book I am already anticipating my next read, and eager to finish the current book so that I can move on. However in this case I was a bit melancholy when I was nearly finished. The reason: I was so caught up in the characters, the setting, the mood of the story that I just wanted to remain there a while longer. Invoking that sort of feeling is quite an accomplishment for an author. I feel no need to provide a story synopsis. That can be found elsewhere. I would rather put my recommendation in context. After the first Mary Russell book, "The Beekeeper's Apprentice," I was intrigued enough by the characters to read further. The transition made in book 2, "A Monstrous Regiment of Women," was a bit unsettling and I didn't know if I would continue with the series. Book 3, "A Letter of Mary," was more pleasant, but not particularly compelling. Even so I had gotten enough pleasure from these first three to continue the series. By Book 4, "The Moor," I think Laurie R. King has settled in comfortably with the character of Mary Russell, and is crafting excellent stories worthy of the Holmes legacy. I would call book 5, "O Jerusalem," a MUST read before embarking on this one, as there are character continuations that should be followed from one to the next. So while all of the books in the series are worth your time, I suggest that, minimally, you read "O Jerusalem" and "Justice Hall." They are absolutely absorbing reads.
LindaSuzane More than 1 year ago
JUSTICE HALL is the sixth book in the series about Sherlock Holmes and his wife Mary Russell. Yes, a much older Sherlock Holmes, now in his fifties, has taken on an apprentice and a wife, in the much younger Mary Russell. The stories are told from Mary's viewpoint, as she and Sherlock work together to solve cases. This one reunites Mary and Sherlock with two former friends, but times find them much changed. When Mary and Sherlock knew them, they knew them as Ali and Muhammad, two Beduins who helped them travel through Palestine on a secret mission for Mycroft. At the time Sherlock had his suspicions that the two brothers were not originally Arab as they appeared. And indeed they were not. Now, Ali turns up on the door begging help for Muhammad and looking and sounding like a very proper English gentleman. The problem that Ali needs help with so desperately is the fact that circumstances have demanded that Muhammad resume his old life as Marsh Hughenfort and the death of the heir to the title has made him the seventh Duke. Mary and Sherlock travel to Justice Hall and find a very unhappy man determined to do his duty, even though being away from his beloved desert is killing him. When it becomes clear that they will not be able to change his mind, Sherlock and Mary set out to help by providing Marsh with support during the difficult time and begin investigating the rather suspicious death of the young heir, executed for cowardice during World War I, and the set out to prove whether or not Marsh's heir, the son of his brother, is actually his son. More and more mysteries enter and then someone tries to kill Marsh. And the game is afoot. Laurie E. King has written another great addition to her rather improbable mystery series that takes a very much different look at Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock is still the Sherlock we know and love and yet different. Mary is charming and a very unique modern woman, a true heroine. JUSTICE HALL is very worth reading. Reviewed by Linda Suzane, June 5, 2002. www.midnightblood.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Mary Russell stories are based on an outrageous premise: that Sherlock Holmes, in his later years, took a young partner who later became his wife. Justice Hall adds an improbability: that characters they met in Oh Jerusalem!, characters deeply rooted in Palestine, have older and deeper roots in England and its history. Making it come off is no small matter, and Laurie King does.

It's set in the aftermath of World War One, and the moods and practices of that war eventually loom large. The author's contemporary attitudes and mores are woven into her character, but not so much as to spoil the story, except perhaps for fans of the purest kind of historical whodunit.

This is an adventure more than a pure mystery; we share Mary Russell's thoughts as she finds the solutions. Still, the possibilities were always there; we are well misdirected. Both the outcome and the path to it make a good tale, well-seasoned in the telling. There are dramatic turns and an unfolding that plays the heartstrings firmly and clearly.

As this series has progressed, Russell's character has moved to the fore; Holmes plays a smaller and smaller part, except as a facilitator with access to Mycroft (and wouldn't that be scandal today) and a well-recognized name. This is as it should be; it's her story. The direct interplay between Holmes and Russell is more limited than in some of the other stories, and that is missed. A Holmesian air lingers about the thing, a comfortable shadow of gaslight and a familiar hint of coal smoke, even as the story reminds us of the social and political upheavals ahead for England.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have ever came across that dealt with the "shot at dawn" issue in the First World War. The why and how of this book in dealing with this was heartbreaking. I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the books in this series, but this one is my favorite. The characters are carried over from "O, Jerusalem!", which was excellent as well and are dealt with consistently and realistically.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a little disappointed in this effort by Ms. King. While I think it to be a fairly good Mary Russell yarn, the author seems to have forgotten about Sherlock Holmes. He does appear in the work, but only as an aside to Mary, Marsh, Alister and several other charactors. I read 'The Beekeeper's Apprentice' simply because it was Sherlock by a new author. I read the rest of the series because I thought I was lucky enough to find a writer who seemed to be able to captute the essence of Sherlock Holmes. I will read the next book by Ms. King when it is written and released, hoping that she will find Sherlock once more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Four years ago in 1919, Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell were in Palestine working a case. Their paths crossed that of two Arabs, Ali and Mahmoud Hazr, two agents of Mycroft who reported on German movement. These four people worked so closely together, breaking bread watching, each other¿s back and taking care of business that a bond was formed, closer than that of family.

In the present (1923) a knock on the door of Holmes and Russell¿s home reveals a wounded and desperate Ali who says he needs their help. It seems that the Hazr¿s are descendants from one of England¿s oldest families, one who came over with the Conqueror. Mahmoud is now the Seventh Duke of Belleville and he is on the family estate of Justice Hall. Duty forces him to come to England though his heart and soul yearn to be with Ali in Palestine. Mary and Sherlock must find out if there is anyone of the blood to take Marsh¿s place, a job that is fraught with danger and peril.

It¿s hard to imagine any author writing about Sherlock Holmes in a manner that is significantly different than his creator and having it come out fabulous but Laurie R. King makes the impossible possible. JUSTICE HALL is a rich multi-textured tale that is as much a historical mystery as it is a parable of the human condition. This book as well as the series is a must read for Holmes fans as well as anyone who wants to read something unusually good.

Harriet Klausner

Bookmarque on LibraryThing 18 days ago
While mildly interesting, there wasn¿t much of a mystery here. I haven¿t read the previous book, so I¿m sure that the new natures of the brothers weren¿t as shocking to me as they would have been had I read it. But the shock kept being repeated between Holmes and Russell.Now that is a strange thing ¿ to picture Holmes married. I cannot conceive of him having so human a reaction to anything as would be required to sustain the bare minimum of a marriage. But Russell seems to be OK with his coldness and his lack of passion about anything except for solving mysteries and cocaine.In the end, the elder brother is released from his `onerous duties¿ as the titled head of the family. These duties are almost usurped by a fake son of the deceased lord and his mother. But in the end, the dead lord¿s son was found to also have a son. He has been hiding in Canada with his mother who didn¿t want anything to do with the family. In the end, she is won over (as only vast amounts of money can do with the morally indignant).
Darla on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are called to a country estate, the Justice Hall of the title, to find a way to convince an old friend to renounce his title and return to his life as a spy in Palestine. The book, then, is the story of Holmes and Russell uncovering the family's secrets, solving some riddles, and coming up with a viable heir so their friend will no longer be torn between duty and desire.By all rights, I shouldn't have liked this story. It's slow-moving, doesn't have a clear direction, the solution was almost too convenient, and yet...This is a perfect example of how my reading tastes have changed over the past couple of years. I read all the previous books in this series in 2002--all the books that were out in paperback at the time. And either this one is much better than the others, or I'm looking for different things, because I felt the previous ones were all solid 4-star reads. That is, I felt they were entertaining, but not great. So of course I feel compelled to dissect the discrepancy in my opinions.To be sure, the first books would likely still get lower ratings from me because the Holmes/Russell romance is so squick-ful. That age difference--what is, it? 40 years? 50?--is just way too hard for me to get past. This book focused much less on their relationship, for which I'm grateful. There was also a Mary-Sue-ish-ness to the earlier books. Mary Russell, as a very young woman, is so smart and so attractive that she entices the notoriously misogynistic Sherlock Holmes. Not only that, but despite her age, she's his equal in deduction.Okay, maybe it wasn't a change in reading tastes--maybe it's just that now that the series has moved past getting the two of them together, I can ignore that part of it and just enjoy the story.The pace was slow, but it was compelling. Even when nothing had really happened yet, I was still eagerly turning pages. King is a master at creating an atmosphere of intrigue. The characters were complete, interesting, and individual, and I cared about them.I have the next one in my TBR pile. I'm looking forward to it.
RachelfromSarasota on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Laurie King brings back Mary Russell and her famous husband, Sherlock Holmes, in this, the sixth book of the series. Holmes is allowed a little more latitude in this book than in the pair's previous adventures, though his character is still fairly shadowy -- a not unexpected King touch. King's awareness that she is treading on what, to most Holmes fans, is sacred ground, is evident in her determination to hew to a fine line with Holmes' participation in these books. He has fallen in love with a much younger and very independent woman, one as bright and capable as himself. But none of the books allow readers more than a glimpse of the pair's domestic arrangements, thus avoiding the conundrum of showing the normally aloof and always collected Holmes in the throes of passion.King displays a deft sleight of hand with her readers from the opening chapter, with the reappearance of two previous characters, Mahmoud and Ali, the Bedouin guides who last appeared in King's O JERUSALEM. This time the shoe is on the other foot -- Russell and Holmes are needed to help Ali and Mahmoud find the missing heir to an English fortune. Along the way the detectival duo stumble onto a dark family secret, involving both lines of legitimacy and homosexuality; are plunged into conflict with the British War Office in a case involving an execution for cowardice under fire; and have to save the long-lost heir from imminent death.This book has a few more twists and turns than most of the Russell-Holmes series, and as a result it is a fast-paced and exciting read.Highly recommended to fans of the series.
NellieMc on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Superb as usual, but don't read this until you've read O'Jerusalem.
Joycepa on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Sixth in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series.Russell and Holmes have barely returned home to Sussex before they are startled by insistent knocking at their door. Russell opens the door--and Ali, one of the two ¿Arabs¿ with whom Holmes and Russell sojourned in Palestine, falls through the door. This is a very different Ali--dressed in expensive Western clothing and wounded. After rest, Ali, clearly not an Arab (although both Russell and Holmes knew that before leaving Palestine), still invokes the bonds of Bedu brotherhood, asking their help in saving ¿Mahmoud¿, the other Arab, who is in reality his cousin Maurice. Due to the childless death of his older brother, a duke, Mahmoud/Maurice suddenly inherited the title the family estate in Berhshire, Justice Hall. Both Ali (Alistair) and Maurice returned from Palestine to follow the call of duty; Maurice, however, having fled that life to begin with, is now drinking himself to death in order to bear the burden of a life he never wanted. Russell and Holmes accompany Ali to Justice Hall, where they find a much-changed Maurice and an intriguing mystery surrounding the death of Maurice¿s nephew, who would have inherited the title, during World War I.Another excellent installment in the series. King is interested in World War I and the post-war era; she wrote a stand-alone book, Touchstone, that takes place during that period. The issue of British soldiers and officers being shot as deserters or cowards is a shameful one in British military history, and the plot makes full use of those abuses of power.Naturally, there is opportunity for Holmes and Russell to don disguises in order to carry out their investigations; the ones in this book are particularly amusing.This book has all of King¿s strengths: good plotting, excellent characterizations, spare writing, and an exciting denouement. Highly recommended.
LindaSuzane on LibraryThing 21 days ago
JUSTICE HALL is the sixth book in the series about Sherlock Holmes and his wife Mary Russell. Yes, a much older Sherlock Holmes, now in his fifties, has taken on an apprentice and a wife, in the much younger Mary Russell. The stories are told from Mary's viewpoint, as she and Sherlock work together to solve cases.This one reunites Mary and Sherlock with two former friends, but times find them much changed. When Mary and Sherlock knew them, they knew them as Ali and Muhammad, two Beduins who helped them travel through Palestine on a secret mission for Mycroft. At the time Sherlock had his suspicions that the two brothers were not originally Arab as they appeared. And indeed they were not. Now, Ali turns up on the door begging help for Muhammad and looking and sounding like a very proper English gentleman. The problem that Ali needs help with so desperately is the fact that circumstances have demanded that Muhammad resume his old life as Marsh Hughenfort and the death of the heir to the title has made him the seventh Duke. Mary and Sherlock travel to Justice Hall and find a very unhappy man determined to do his duty, even though being away from his beloved desert is killing him. When it becomes clear that they will not be able to change his mind, Sherlock and Mary set out to help by providing Marsh with support during the difficult time and begin investigating the rather suspicious death of the young heir, executed for cowardice during World War I, and the set out to prove whether or not Marsh's heir, the son of his brother, is actually his son. More and more mysteries enter and then someone tries to kill Marsh. And the game is afoot.Laurie E. King has written another great addition to her rather improbable mystery series that takes a very much different look at Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock is still the Sherlock we know and love and yet different. Mary is charming and a very unique modern woman, a true heroine. JUSTICE HALL is very worth reading.Reviewed by Linda Suzane, June 5, 2002.
mldavis2 on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Sixth is a list of (now) twelve pseudo-Sherlock Holmes mystery novels, Justice Hall upholds King's sense of character for Holmes while adding the growing expertise of Mary Russell, his young wife. King gets carried away at times with descriptions of rooms or environment, but she is a fine writer and continues to hold interest throughout the book. I give this one three and a half stars as a mystery (very good) and a must read for Sherlock Holmes fans, of course.
SandiLee on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Although O Jerusalem, the previous installment in the Mary Russell series, takes place several years prior and a continent away, Justice Hall follows beautifully. We get to see the Hazr brothers again and as foreigners in their home country. I don't know how King makes such a sensational story feel realistic, but she does. I was grateful to be in the company of the Hazr brothers again and delighted with Iris, their unlikely third musketeer.
Stewartry on LibraryThing 21 days ago
Beautiful. Just beautiful. In the combined desire to reread the Holmes/Russell series and still hurry to get to Pirate King, I skipped two books: Letter of Mary I did not have, and O Jerusalem was a departure of setting and plotline, and took place a step out of time in the series, so that I felt safe leaving it out for the time being. (I will get back to it before long.) Such is the beauty of this series that it was perfectly possible to do so and still happily read this sixth book, which not only opens hours after Holmes and Russell return home from the adventures of the fourth book but also picks up the threads of the fifth book, which took place in the middle of the first. I know, but it really does make perfect sense. The timing and placement of the books in the series is actually quite brilliant planning, if planned it was ¿ and if it wasn't, perhaps it's even more brilliant. Once again, Holmes and Russell have only the briefest of respites from their travels before they are haled off on another urgent undertaking, to help another old friend in desperate need. Not a need for himself, but that of his closest friend, his all-but brother, who has found himself with no honorable choice but to leave the work he has loved and lived for for decades in the Middle-east to come back to England to play lord of the manor in his family seat, Justice Hall. It's a variation on a theme often played in historical and fantasy novels: the man who never expected to be heir. Marsh Hughenfort was the younger son, and his elder brother had a son ¿ but upon the relatively early death of the brother and the mysterious death of the nephew somewhere on the frontlines of WWI, the title is his. The problem is that his near-brother believes it will kill him, and he wants Holmes and Russell to come and convince him he should shirk his duty and return to the desert. With a sigh (and some grumbling from Russell), the pair heed the call to investigate the nephew's death and, making no promises, to see what they can do in the matter of convincing Marsh to cede the title that will leave him a virtual zombie. I loved this book. I loved the double lives ¿ not only of the "guest" protagonists, but of Holmes and Russell (for nearly every case necessitates some degree of false face) and also of others in the cast. I loved the house, and its character; I blunder through that a little more below, but it takes a special gift for a writer to successfully depict a setting with personality without drifting into a fantasy lane. And most of all I loved the people, familiar and new (or altered), living and dead, who filled the story. Setting and characters are all imbued with their own lives and thoughts and business, into which the reader is privileged to be given a brief glimpse. Justice Hall is an elegy to all that WWI destroyed ¿ the innocence, the security, a generation of youth and promise gone or broken or soured to cynicism. At this distance of space and time it's hard to grasp the gaping wound the Great War left on England ¿ hard, that is, without reading something like this. Here it all becomes much clearer ¿ the chaos and the pain, and the ruination of so many lives. The waste. I'm not sure this is going to come out as I want it to, but here goes. The book is also a testimony to what a lord should be, the classic ideal of the feudal establishment ¿ the protector and pillar of his people. By this I don't mean shiny-faced happy peasants with their mattocks on their shoulders pulling forelocks to their lord and master as he rides haughtily by on his hunter, and later he sits down to a feast in his lofty hall while they eat their gruel in their hovel. That's not a model of anything except bad cliché. As such, as it is so often seen in fiction (and fact): the system is rife with abuse and advantage-takers, unfair to everyone except the "nobles" at the top of the pyramid. But here the reader is given a gl
MrsLee on LibraryThing 5 months ago
It's time for me to read these stories again, and they are worth the effort.
Kathy89 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I really enjoy the partnership aspect of Holmes and Russell. This story was a little to long but it was an interesting case involving the death of the heir to Justice Hall during WWI. The knowledge that he married and had a son was revealed rather easily by Russell & Holmes.
jennyo on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is the sixth book in Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. King has accomplished a very unusual feat amongst mystery series authors; each of her books is better than the last.Chronologically, this book follows the fourth one (The Moor), but it makes perfect sense to read this book immediately following O, Jerusalem. I'd recommend reading those two back to back (not something I normally do with a series).This one also shows off Ms. King's fascination with architecture. I can picture Justice Hall perfectly from her excellent descriptions.I'll admit that I figured out the "surprise" in this one quite early on, but it was still great fun to read. Holmes is in good hands with Ms. King, and Russell is as entertaining as Holmes himself. I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the next book in this series (The Game), but I intend to read Rudyard Kipling's Kim first since he's a major character in that book.
parelle on LibraryThing 5 months ago
One of my favorite Mary Russell books, I think in part because of the wonderful continuation of characters from O Jerusalem - and the story of Gabriel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the part where Russell and Holmes took care of Ali after he collapsed from his injuries when he arrived at their house.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read these on the treadmill--it's my bribe--and I could hardly wait to get on it so I could read the next portion. Excellent characters, fine plot.