Tuesday, April 5, 2016

So, just who is Clara Hudson?

Laurie R. King
Random House Publishing Group
April 5, 2016

The fourteenth novel in the Sherlock Holmes/ Mary Russell series opens on a quiet summer day on the Sussex Downs. Mary Russell is home alone, as Mrs. Hudson, the longtime landlady, then housekeeper, to Sherlock Holmes is doing her regular marketing. Sherlock Holmes is away doing whatever Sherlock does: probably a mission for Mycroft Holmes. At the door is a man, claiming to be Mrs. Hudson's son. All of Mary's alarm bells are ringing, as she knows nothing of a son. She,however, does know about a nephew in Australia. Samuel Hudson has an Australian accent and the oily charm of a used-car salesman. Despite her misgivings, Mary admits him because she wants to hear his story and has confidence in her own ability to handle anything that comes her way.  In this situation her confidence is misplaced: Mrs. Hudson arrives home to find an empty cottage and a very large pool of blood on the floor. More blood in fact than anyone could survive losing. 

I think anyone who is familiar with the original Sherlock Holmes stories and the Holmes/Russell novels has always suspected that there is more to Clara Hudson than meets the eye. Her story, as Clarissa Hudson, is quite different from what might be expected. Mrs, Hudson is a woman of many parts; she and Sherlock have known each other much longer than disclosed. The Murder of Mary Russell  gives us all the answers about Clara and former irregular, Billy Mudd. Sherlock is able to solve the mystery of what has happened to Mary even through his grief and worry; thanks to some overlooked clues left by Mary herself.

A new Holmes and Russell novel is always a red-letter day for me and The Murder of Mary Russell may well be a favorite. I was on tenterhooks since first seeing the title and when I got my hands on it, read it in one sitting. It is another worthy entry in this long-running series. Thanks to Random House Publishing Group and NetGalley for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review.

RATING- 4.5 Stars

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