Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Art of Detection

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The Art of Detection

A Novel of Suspense

by Laurie R. King

The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King
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  • First Published:
    May 2006, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2007, 496 pages

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Laurie King was born in northern California, the third generation in her family native to the San Francisco area. According to her bio she "spent her childhood reading her way through libraries like a termite through balsa, and her middle years raising children, traveling the world, and studying theology, earning a BA degree in comparative religion and an MA in Old Testament Theology. She now lives a genteel life of crime, back again in northern California."

She published her first book, A Kate Martinelli mystery, in 1993; the following year she came out with her first Mary Russell novel, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, for the next couple of years she managed to turn out a book from both series each year, before focusing on the Mary Russell series. In addition she has written a handful of stand alone novels, including Keeping Watch.

Fans of Laurie King and Holmes aficionados would do well to spend some time at her website which is full of information on her books, fun interviews and the like. Her essay on the the chronology of Holmes is particularly interesting if you're one of the many who have wondered about the apparently large age difference between Mary Russell and the great detective.

Her next book, Touchstone, about Bennett Grey, a man transformed by the Great War into a human touchstone who reacts to truth just as quicksilver reacts to gold*, was to release this summer but appears to have been delayed. We're seeing indications that it might be out around Christmas, but not enough to be certain at this point.

*If you break a mercury thermometer be careful that the mercury (also known as quicksilver) does not come in contact with gold, such as a wedding ring, as the mercury and gold will bond together, turning the ring silver-colored and making it unsafe to wear. A professional can reverser the process using heat. Gold mining with mercury is now illegal but in the past mercury was extensively used to filter gold out of water. The mercury would bond with the gold and the resulting amalgam would sink, while the sand and gravel would pass over. Unfortunately up to 10-30% of the mercury was lost during the process, resulting in high levels of contamination in many mining areas that exist to this day.

This article was originally published in June 2006, and has been updated for the May 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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