Justice Hall [Laurie R King]

Start Date: 5 February 2022

Finish Date: 6 February 2022

Source: Amazon India Kindle Store

Goodreads Summary:

Hours after Holmes and Russell return from solving the murky riddle of The Moor, a bloodied but oddly familiar stranger pounds desperately on their front door, pleading for their help. When he recovers, he lays before them the story of the enigmatic Marsh Hughenfort, younger brother of the Duke of Beauville, returned to England upon his brother’s death, determined to learn the truth about the untimely death of the hall’s expected heir — a puzzle he is convinced only Holmes and Russell can solve.

It’s a mystery that begins during the Great War of 1918, when young Gabriel Hughenfort, the late Duke’s only son, died amidst scandalous rumors that have haunted the family ever since. While Holmes heads to London to uncover the truth of Gabriel’s war record, Russell joins an ill-fated shooting party. A missing diary, a purloined bundle of letters, and a trail of ominous clues comprise a mystery that will call for Holmes’s cleverest disguises and Russell’s most daring journeys into the unknown, from an English hamlet to the city of Paris to the wild prairie of the New World. The trap is set, the game is afoot, but can they catch an elusive villain in the act of murder before they become his next victims?

Goodreads: Justice Hall

Notes:

  • This was the most satisfying Mary Russell book in the series to date. I skipped blogging about O Jerusalem (like I skipped pretty much everything in the second wave of Covid upto this year), which was a thriller more than a murder mystery. This was… remarkable in comparison. It starts as a hunt or caper, turns into a murder-ish mystery, turns into a proper murder mystery, and finishes off as a thriller. And brings in a bunch of biblical allusion as well. Take my money and my fandom, Laurie King!
  • But really, after two ‘proper’ mysteries which just bring in the kids of original villains, two books that are more procedural than mystery, and one spy thriller, this hit all the right notes.
  • There are shades of Agatha Christie’s Five Little Pigs in this since it also involves investigating a murder after ages.
  • There are Nazi sympathisers as well. More on that in another post.
  • Plus a lavender marriage. I read a Print or India Today oped shortly after this which was bemoaning that Badhaai Do might make lavender marriages seem like a decent option when what was really needed was inqilaaaaaaaab. But in this, it’s completely delightful.
  • There’s also a dash across to Canada to find someone who turns out to be an aviatrix. This book is begging for a movie adaptation. The tragedy is that it rests on so much worldbuilding in the past five books that doing this as a standalone might not work. Unless the makers throw out the Sherlock Holmes connection altogether.
  • I think this was also the first Mary Russell book where I truly enjoyed the supporting characters. It’s really like the first five books were practice runs to get this right.

Excerpts:

Seldom have I enjoyed myself more with another person than on that long day’s hike across the hills with the lesbian wife of the seventh Duke of Beauville.

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