From the book jacket: Kate Martinelli
has seen her share of peculiar things as a San Francisco cop,
but never anything quite like this: an ornate Victorian sitting
room straight out of a Sherlock Holmes story complete with
violin, tobacco-filled Persian slipper, and gunshots in the
wallpaper that spell out the initials of the late queen. Philip
Gilbert was a true Holmes fanatic, from his antiquated décor to
his vintage wardrobe. And no mere fan of fiction's great
detective, but a leading expert with a collection of priceless
memorabilia a collection some would kill for. And perhaps
someone did: In his collection is a century-old manuscript
purportedly written by Holmes himself a manuscript that eerily
echoes details of Gilbert's own murder. Now, with the help of
her partner, Al Hawkin, Kate must follow the convoluted trail of
a killer one who may have trained at the feet of the greatest
mind of all times.
Comment: Some readers know Laurie R King best as the author of the historical mystery series set in the early 20th century (starting with The Beekeeper's Apprentice, 1994), in which Mary Russell teams up with Sherlock Holmes to solve mysteries, first as his apprentice, then as his partner in (solving) crime, and later as his wife. Others know King for her police procedurals starring Kate Martinelli (starting with A Grave Talent, 1993) set in modern-day San Francisco. In The Art of Detection (her first Kate Martinelli mystery for six years), King gets as close as she can to melding the two series, considering the geographical and time gap between them!
So far, Martinelli has encountered a female Rembrandt, a modern-day Holy Fool, two difficult teenagers and a manifestation of the goddess Kali. Now she takes on the mystery of a dead Holmes fanatic in this very satisfying 5th in the series, which has the added advantage of showcasing King's encyclopedic knowledge of all things Holmes.
Kate Martinelli series:
Mary Russell series:
This review 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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