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The Art of Detection (Kate Martinelli #5)

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In this thrilling new crime novel that ingeniously bridges Laurie R. King's Edgar and Creasey Awards--winning Kate Martinelli series and her bestselling series starring Mary Russell, San Francisco homicide detective Kate Martinelli crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes-in a spellbinding dual mystery that could come only from the "intelligent, witty, and complex" mind of "New In this thrilling new crime novel that ingeniously bridges Laurie R. King's Edgar and Creasey Awards--winning Kate Martinelli series and her bestselling series starring Mary Russell, San Francisco homicide detective Kate Martinelli crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes-in a spellbinding dual mystery that could come only from the "intelligent, witty, and complex" mind of "New York Times" bestselling author Laurie R. King.... 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 decor 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.


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In this thrilling new crime novel that ingeniously bridges Laurie R. King's Edgar and Creasey Awards--winning Kate Martinelli series and her bestselling series starring Mary Russell, San Francisco homicide detective Kate Martinelli crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes-in a spellbinding dual mystery that could come only from the "intelligent, witty, and complex" mind of "New In this thrilling new crime novel that ingeniously bridges Laurie R. King's Edgar and Creasey Awards--winning Kate Martinelli series and her bestselling series starring Mary Russell, San Francisco homicide detective Kate Martinelli crosses paths with Sherlock Holmes-in a spellbinding dual mystery that could come only from the "intelligent, witty, and complex" mind of "New York Times" bestselling author Laurie R. King.... 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 decor 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.

30 review for The Art of Detection (Kate Martinelli #5)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    To be honest, I read this book because of the connection to Sherlock Holmes. I do Love Laurie R. Kings books. But, I do prefer her Mary Russell series. Some day I may get to her Kate Martinelli series also. Now it's been some years since I read this book, but I remember that I found it quite interesting. Especially the finding of a lost Sherlock Holmes manuscript that could be written by Sherlock Holmes himself. You can without problem read this book without having read the other books in this s To be honest, I read this book because of the connection to Sherlock Holmes. I do Love Laurie R. Kings books. But, I do prefer her Mary Russell series. Some day I may get to her Kate Martinelli series also. Now it's been some years since I read this book, but I remember that I found it quite interesting. Especially the finding of a lost Sherlock Holmes manuscript that could be written by Sherlock Holmes himself. You can without problem read this book without having read the other books in this series (I know because I did that) and I think this book will appeal Sherlock Holmes fans. I do plan to re-read this book to see if I find this book better nowadays.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gill

    Laurie R King can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes, and this book only served to confirm that, cleverly weaving her turn of the millennium Kate Martinelli series with her early 20th century Mary Russell series. Kate is investigating a present-day homicide, but the victim was an avid scholar and collector of anything Sherlock Holmes-related. In his collection is a century-old manuscript purportedly written by Holmes himself; a manuscript that eerily echoes details of Gilbert's own murder. This e Laurie R King can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes, and this book only served to confirm that, cleverly weaving her turn of the millennium Kate Martinelli series with her early 20th century Mary Russell series. Kate is investigating a present-day homicide, but the victim was an avid scholar and collector of anything Sherlock Holmes-related. In his collection is a century-old manuscript purportedly written by Holmes himself; a manuscript that eerily echoes details of Gilbert's own murder. This embedded short story by Holmes takes place during the period of Mary's sojourn in San Francisco which is covered in Locked Rooms - one of my favourite Russell stories. Here again King manages to conjure Sherlock's voice (at least as represented in the Russell series - I've never read any Conan Doyle) so convincingly. I loved this story within the story - who couldn't love singer Billy Birdsong? - and the echoes from LGBT history through to the modern day.

  3. 4 out of 5

    James

    So this is sort of a Holmes pastiche, sort of not. And before I go any further: it's not really any good, but the pastiche elements themselves are definitely worth checking out. It's set within King's non-Holmes series and essentially attempts to bring her Holmesian readers over with the promise of, well, basically a crossover. I've not read any of the prior material, though thankfully that didn't matter; as I understand it, there was a very long gap between this and the previous book, so we get So this is sort of a Holmes pastiche, sort of not. And before I go any further: it's not really any good, but the pastiche elements themselves are definitely worth checking out. It's set within King's non-Holmes series and essentially attempts to bring her Holmesian readers over with the promise of, well, basically a crossover. I've not read any of the prior material, though thankfully that didn't matter; as I understand it, there was a very long gap between this and the previous book, so we get a decent quantity of exposition. The main plot revolves around a supposedly 'new' Holmes manuscript written by Doyle. It's ridiculous. It makes no sense. At all. I don't understand how the hell we're supposed to buy that anyone would ever, ever believe the manuscript was from Doyle, especially since all the characters in the novel are enthusiastic Holmesians. For a start, it revolves around queer issues. Then there's the fact that it's written from Holmes' perspective, and not in the way Doyle attempted to write such a thing. But the interesting part then lies in the fact that we're given this manuscript to read. Because: guys! It's a Holmes pastiche that deals with queer issues! Trans* issues, in fact! (Er, which... the modern day characters refer to as 'gay', which seems... rather weird. And terrible. What does it say when the early 1900's style material seems almost more progressive than the 2000's style material in that regard..?) (I don't know, let's ask Moffat!) And it's got a good Holmes voice, and it's interesting, and it's really fucking obviously supposed to take place within the Mary Russell canon, which is interesting given the sheer level of 'Holmes might be less than 100% straight' stuff I picked up in it. HM. But then we have the rest of the novel. And it's all terrible cliches, and bland characters, and 'haha Holmesians are weeeeird!' dullness. Boring writing, too. About the only saving grace is the modern-day Holmes parallel, who I'd have liked to see more of, but unfortunately he's dead so there you go. Oh, and it has really trite pseudo-progressive stuff shoved in. So I wouldn't recommend this unless you're a Mary Russell fan who wants to see Holmes be kind of queer. (In other words, unless you're basically me.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

    Once you get past the author's bigotry and racism, you have a fascinating situation that should appeal to fans of mysteries in general and Sherlock Holmes in particular. But some readers may not make it that far, seeing as how King's prejudices are put forward so forcibly in the beginning of the book, before the elements of the case have had a chance to take hold of the reader, and some may give up after they determine that the mystery which they had hoped would dominate the plot always has to t Once you get past the author's bigotry and racism, you have a fascinating situation that should appeal to fans of mysteries in general and Sherlock Holmes in particular. But some readers may not make it that far, seeing as how King's prejudices are put forward so forcibly in the beginning of the book, before the elements of the case have had a chance to take hold of the reader, and some may give up after they determine that the mystery which they had hoped would dominate the plot always has to take a back seat to King's (and her character's) view of the world. As to the situation, what could be more appealing to a fan than an obsessive Holmes follower, a detailed recreation of 221B Baker Street in present-day San Francisco, a mysterious murder in a spooky locale, and hints of a long-lost Sherlock Holmes manuscript? Unfortunately, what should be the strongest elements of the story are used as mere set dressing, and the pacing of the story varies from painfully slow to abruptly staccato. It does not help that the brakes are applied to the main story for the purpose of inserting a poorly written Sherlock Holmes pastiche that exists solely to further a social agenda into the middle third of the book; the pastiche is ostensibly the motivator of the plot (and the murder) since it purports to be an authentic manuscript written by Conan Doyle, but its importance is lost on the reader since it's obvious from a textual analysis that it could never have been written by Holmes' creator, who was schooled in proper English grammar, something that should have been obvious to any of the Sherlock Holmes "experts" who populated the character list. The book fails to satisfy the two fan bases it should have appealed to most--police procedural and Sherlock Holmes--and that leaves the much smaller cult-of-personality crowd, either those who follow Laurie King's writings or those who follow the character Kate Martinelli because she's "such a good role model." As far as King's other work, I'm familiar with her Sherlock Holmes novels, which began with "The Bee Keeper's Apprentice," but it was not a series I followed beyond the first couple of books because she took the Great Detective hostage for her ideologies. As for the Martinelli character, this is the first story I've read (attracted solely by the Holmes aspect), but I was put off by a detective who did very little detecting, who saw police work as a distraction from her personal life, who treated everyone else with disdain, who was preoccupied with the sexual and physical attraction of witnesses, and who waded into the world of Sherlock Holmes armed with nothing more than misconceptions and misunderstandings about the character and his devotees. If you are a fan of either King or Martinelli, you might like this book, or at least judge it "okay" if you just can't get enough of anything related to Sherlock Holmes, but readers looking for more substance and mystery might want to give it a pass.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne Hawn Smith

    I don't know how it happened, but I have read two books in a row in which the gay/lesbian secondary theme in the book has been heavy handed and off putting. I am getting very tired of it. The detective, Kate Martinelli has her perfect little lesbian family with her partner's all too perfect and wise 3 year old child. About half the book is devoted to these side issues and, predictably, all the gays are wonderful, misunderstood, and discriminated against and the rest of the characters are either I don't know how it happened, but I have read two books in a row in which the gay/lesbian secondary theme in the book has been heavy handed and off putting. I am getting very tired of it. The detective, Kate Martinelli has her perfect little lesbian family with her partner's all too perfect and wise 3 year old child. About half the book is devoted to these side issues and, predictably, all the gays are wonderful, misunderstood, and discriminated against and the rest of the characters are either wildly supportive of their lifestyle or complete jerks. There is preaching, dogmatism and intolerance on the alternative lifestyle proponents that is every bit as nauseating as the morality plays of the past. Kate has an attitude that is every bit as prejudiced, bigoted and sanctimonious as the people she demeans. Please, authors, give it a rest!! This has nothing to do with a fairly decent mystery so why include it? The setting involves a group of people who are Sherlock Holmes aficionados and the murder of one of their members. When his body is found in a gun emplacement on the Marin headlands Kate and her partner, Al Hawkins, believe the murder has been committed elsewhere and the body has been staged. They trace the murder victim to his home which is awesome as well as eerie. On the bottom two floors, the house is a replica of a San Francisco home at the time of Sherlock Holmes even down to the gas lights and heat. On the third floor, where Philip Gilbert mainly lives, he has a computer, security system with a nanny camera and even an elevator, but the rest of the house allows him to immerse himself in the life and times of Sherlock Holmes. The crux of the story involves a newly found manuscript supposedly written by Arthur Conan Doyle while he was visiting San Francisco and it involves a complicated murder which was similar to the staging of Philip Gilbert's murder. The detective work is quite good and the solution is interesting and plausible. The addition of all the Sherlock Holmes information makes the book work slogging through despite all the gay/lesbian posturing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Laurie R. King writes two mystery series. One revolves around Kate Martinelli, a lesbian inspector of police in San Francisco. (I mention her sexual orientation not because it makes any difference to me, but because the author makes such a big deal of it.) The second requires the reader to swallow the notion that Sherlock Holmes lived on well into the twentieth century, took as an apprentice a fifteen-year-old girl, Mary Russell. Holmes eventually marries Russell who is 46 years his junior. Desp Laurie R. King writes two mystery series. One revolves around Kate Martinelli, a lesbian inspector of police in San Francisco. (I mention her sexual orientation not because it makes any difference to me, but because the author makes such a big deal of it.) The second requires the reader to swallow the notion that Sherlock Holmes lived on well into the twentieth century, took as an apprentice a fifteen-year-old girl, Mary Russell. Holmes eventually marries Russell who is 46 years his junior. Despite the absurdity of the premise, there are some attractive features of the novels, mostly to do with the idea of Holmes approaching old age. Russell, who tells the stories in the first person, is discomfitingly priggish and writes in a style that was already old-fashioned when she was born in 1900. "The Art of Detection" cross-pollinates these two lines. It is technically a Kate Martinelli mystery, but the crucial plot point is a 115-page previously-unknown Holmes story. Yes, the story is printed in full and makes up about a third of the novel. The police procedural stuff, what there is of it, is really pretty good, what there is of it. Just when it is getting interesting, Martinelli intuits the answer. (This is a shortcoming of King's Mary Russell novels, too. The detection in those novels relies too little on deduction and too much on intuition.) There is also a completely implausible and unnecessary shoot-out at the end.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Lagow

    In this, the fifth in the Kate Martinelli series, King connects that series, set in present-cay San Francisco, with her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. Devotees of the Conan Doyle stories of Sherlock Holmes form clubs or societies, where members dress in period costumes and meet for various social occasions. Some go to extreme lengths in what becomes nearly full-time role-playing. Philip Gilbert was one such. When he is found murdered in an old gun emplacement on the Marin headlands, Martin In this, the fifth in the Kate Martinelli series, King connects that series, set in present-cay San Francisco, with her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. Devotees of the Conan Doyle stories of Sherlock Holmes form clubs or societies, where members dress in period costumes and meet for various social occasions. Some go to extreme lengths in what becomes nearly full-time role-playing. Philip Gilbert was one such. When he is found murdered in an old gun emplacement on the Marin headlands, Martinelli and her partner Al Hawkins follow a set of puzzling clues that include the possibility of an unpublished, original story by Conan Doyle. While there is a great deal of involvement and information about modern Sherlockians, there is no need to read the original Sherlock Holmes stories, as all the involvement is peripheral to the stories themselves. But it is a fascinating look into the world of those devotees who throw themselves with amazing enthusiasm into the Victorian world of Holmes. It enhances the police procedural part of the story. In addition, there is a subplot involving the death of a young gay soldier in the post World War I area in that same area, that lends spice and interest to the main plot. Those are, in my opinion, the good parts of the book. However, I have never really taken to the Mattinelli series because to me Martinelli and her partner lee have never come across as a real lesbian couple. while I think that King is very sympathetic to her characters, she is not empathetic--they are too politically correct, too stiff, too perfect. In this book, they are now the perfect lesbian family, since Lee has had a daughter who is now 3 years old. The child is so perfect as to be nauseating. And a number of stock lesbian characters show up as well--the minister who is a political activist, the radical. I have known people like that rather well, and none of them are as politically correct as these are; to me, they come across as stereotypes, not as real people. And the end of the book wraps up teh modern and 1920s eras into a nice, sentimental package. My problem is that I am anything but a sentimentalist, and i do not think that King handled this part of the story well at all. When Martinelli does her police work, she’s good. But her private life smacks of good intentions rather than reality.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    According to my list here I have not read a book by Laurie R. King since I started keeping track here. That is unforgivable. Not only is King one of my favorite authors, but her Kate Martinelli series is just so good. I suspect that the Mary Russell series is more beloved by most, but Martinelli's stories are just so well plotted and so riveting. They are my favorite of King's books. The Art of Detection is no exception. I kept looking for reasons to get in my car so I would have more time with K According to my list here I have not read a book by Laurie R. King since I started keeping track here. That is unforgivable. Not only is King one of my favorite authors, but her Kate Martinelli series is just so good. I suspect that the Mary Russell series is more beloved by most, but Martinelli's stories are just so well plotted and so riveting. They are my favorite of King's books. The Art of Detection is no exception. I kept looking for reasons to get in my car so I would have more time with Kate and her case. King did not exactly tie her two series tightly together, but there is no way this book would have come about without the Mary Russell novels. Martinelli, her work partner and her life partner, Lee, seem very real to me. I live in the stories while I listen to them. Listening to the books are part of the experience of this series for me. Alyssa Bresnahan is the voice of either King or Martinelli or maybe both in my mind. Because this series is so real to me, I have to admit I cried through the last chapter of this book. The emotions the characters were experiencing were mine. I was so happy. Now I have to right the terrible wrongs I have done and read/listen to more Laurie R. King.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I quite liked it. I haven't read the Kate Martinelli series before. I've been reading the Marry Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. A footnote in the latest Mary Russell one indicated I'd better read this first (didn't realize then it wasn't a Mary Russell) & so trotted back to the library to get it & read it today/tonight (it's 2:30 AM because I was reading in a room without a clock). I really like the Martinelli character storyline as well as the interplay of the Holmes story. I loved the I quite liked it. I haven't read the Kate Martinelli series before. I've been reading the Marry Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. A footnote in the latest Mary Russell one indicated I'd better read this first (didn't realize then it wasn't a Mary Russell) & so trotted back to the library to get it & read it today/tonight (it's 2:30 AM because I was reading in a room without a clock). I really like the Martinelli character storyline as well as the interplay of the Holmes story. I loved the end, so wonderfully poignant & happy that moment in time (at least those marriages remain legal -- hopefully the rest of the state will get the chance again). Now I have to go track down the rest of the Kate Martinelli books, after I read "The Language of Bees".

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    No art in detection here, more like the tedium of detection. Too long and too many dead ends that could have been shortened. The short story within the story was actually more enjoyable. Plot just dragged on and on with little action and the ending was a bit of a surprise. However,by then you just wanted it to end and didn't care what happened. Won't be reading anymore of this series. The last chapter(after the case is wrapped up) about Kate getting officially married was irrelevant and not nece No art in detection here, more like the tedium of detection. Too long and too many dead ends that could have been shortened. The short story within the story was actually more enjoyable. Plot just dragged on and on with little action and the ending was a bit of a surprise. However,by then you just wanted it to end and didn't care what happened. Won't be reading anymore of this series. The last chapter(after the case is wrapped up) about Kate getting officially married was irrelevant and not necessary. I already considered them officially married even if they weren't. Just another example of the never-ending story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I read this book after reading "the Beekeeper's Apprentice", also by Laurie King. She writes two series - one a Sherlock Holmes series and another a present day San Francisco detective series. This book is of the San Francisco ilk, but involves the murder of a man obsessed with Sherlock Holmes. I didn't really like the book too much. Good things were that it was readable and the descriptions of San Francisco were vivid. On the bad side, despite being sherlockian, the plot left a lot to be desired I read this book after reading "the Beekeeper's Apprentice", also by Laurie King. She writes two series - one a Sherlock Holmes series and another a present day San Francisco detective series. This book is of the San Francisco ilk, but involves the murder of a man obsessed with Sherlock Holmes. I didn't really like the book too much. Good things were that it was readable and the descriptions of San Francisco were vivid. On the bad side, despite being sherlockian, the plot left a lot to be desired. Several times I silently was saying "[email protected]!". The story within a story was about a B-/C+, also my final grade for the book. I'm skipping the San Francisco books and going back to London.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    The Art of Detection is billed as the coming together of the Martinelli series with the Russell/Holmes series; Martinelli is assigned to solve the murder of a Holmes fanatic who has apparently discovered a new Holmes story, written in the first person (and for fans of the Russell series, clearly taking place around the time of Locked Rooms). This was a bit of a disappointment; the action is somewhat plodding and the characters not as fully realized as in previous books, though the exploration of The Art of Detection is billed as the coming together of the Martinelli series with the Russell/Holmes series; Martinelli is assigned to solve the murder of a Holmes fanatic who has apparently discovered a new Holmes story, written in the first person (and for fans of the Russell series, clearly taking place around the time of Locked Rooms). This was a bit of a disappointment; the action is somewhat plodding and the characters not as fully realized as in previous books, though the exploration of the society of Holmes fans is interesting.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    Laurie R. King, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Shall it be your excellent characters? The air of whimsy you allow them as they pursue deadly serious evidence? The amount of professional respect the colleagues demonstrate? Perhaps it is the healthy relationships you inject into the lives of your characters? In this case, it was the clever way you wove the Holmes we've come to know through Russell's eyes into the warp and weft of Kate's story. The way the storylines crossed each other Laurie R. King, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Shall it be your excellent characters? The air of whimsy you allow them as they pursue deadly serious evidence? The amount of professional respect the colleagues demonstrate? Perhaps it is the healthy relationships you inject into the lives of your characters? In this case, it was the clever way you wove the Holmes we've come to know through Russell's eyes into the warp and weft of Kate's story. The way the storylines crossed each other and back into themselves offered hints, but never really spelled out the culprit. I like that. I don't like guessing correctly, but if I do, I like it when the author manages to keep me interested enough to see if I'm right. This was the first Kate Martinelli book I've read, and I'll definitely go back and read the others. She's a strong character, without the chip-on-the-shoulder cliche attitude given to way too many lesbian characters. Her relationship is important to her, her family is important to her and her connectedness to her partner, Al, is respectful and affirming. I'm not going to dig into the plot here. You have to read it to 'get' it, but briefly, the story revolves around a group of Sherlock devotees who meet for dinner and role-playing. Additionally, there is the dog-eat-dog world of collectors - people who go after first editions, autographed editions, original manuscripts, antiques, and other memorabilia attached to the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his famed character, Sherlock Holmes. There is the required murder, and in the middle of the story there is yet another story. Those of us who read the Russell books KNOW who the author is, without question. In this book, he is not real. Maybe. The parallels between the typed manuscript that figures in this book, and the plot surrounding the murder and subsequent investigation, are well conjoined. I didn't find them to be forced, or stretched to the limit of believability. That's partly due to the way the characters are allowed to do their own thing without interference from the writer. She doesn't force them in any specific direction, she merely records. This is a gift that many writers only wish they had! In solving the mystery, Kate and her partner follow protocol, try to stay within budgetary limits, show respect to the forensic team (without idolizing them a la Abby Sciutto), and know how to drop back and regroup when necessary. Throughout we get the idea that this is a partnership that can finish each other's sentences, understands what is important to each, and the way in which they support each other for the good of the team. As a kind of sidelight to the Russell books, I really enjoyed this one and look forward to exploring Kate Martinelli in her own right.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    This one was pretty good, a bit better than the others. However, I wish the GoodReads scoring system was on a 1-10 basis so that I could more accurately rate it according to my taste. I read the first three books in this series and skipped right to number 5, having jumped about twelve years in the characters' lives, during which time a lot of changes have been made - all in all, these changes were all a little "goody-two-shoes" (or is that goody-too-shoes?) for me. Anyway, the gist of the story co This one was pretty good, a bit better than the others. However, I wish the GoodReads scoring system was on a 1-10 basis so that I could more accurately rate it according to my taste. I read the first three books in this series and skipped right to number 5, having jumped about twelve years in the characters' lives, during which time a lot of changes have been made - all in all, these changes were all a little "goody-two-shoes" (or is that goody-too-shoes?) for me. Anyway, the gist of the story concerns the San Francisco murder of one of the world's leading experts on Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle. The murdered man goes so far as to live in a San Francisco mansion duplicating the living conditions of Holmesian London - on the first two floors. Even the electrical outlets have been removed and papered over. The murdered man also seems to think (have thought) that he has discovered an original unpublished Sherlock Holmes story written while Conan-Doyle visited San Francisco. It was found in a boarded up attic along with an antique typewriter on which it appears to have been written. Speculation as to why it was never realeased for publication concentrate on the murder of a (of course,) closeted gay Army officer who had been dating a transvestite performer. The ENTIRE 100 page manuscript is reproduced broken only by a page or paragraph in the life of the detective reading it. Then, the real life murder take on a great deal of parallels of the fictional one. I liked this Kate Martinelli mystery better than the others. I believe that much of this is because of the inclusion of the 100 page Holmes story. Ironically, the first ten Laurie R. King novels I read were the Mary Russell series, though I did like those more.

  15. 4 out of 5

    J

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was the next Martinelli book for me after reading the debut novel, "A Grave Talent." I only jumped ahead because other books weren't available at the library. It was bittersweet to fast-forward so far ahead that Kate and her police partner, Al, have gone from learning each other to knowing the other like the back of one's hand. Also, Kate has gone from attractive to self-described frumpy. But it must have been really fun for author King to combine two of her threads: female San Fran detective This was the next Martinelli book for me after reading the debut novel, "A Grave Talent." I only jumped ahead because other books weren't available at the library. It was bittersweet to fast-forward so far ahead that Kate and her police partner, Al, have gone from learning each other to knowing the other like the back of one's hand. Also, Kate has gone from attractive to self-described frumpy. But it must have been really fun for author King to combine two of her threads: female San Fran detective + Holmes literature. The deceased Mr. Gilbert -- whose murder has to be solved -- was indeed an interesting personality -- a modern gay who wants to remain closeted, even in contemporary hang-it-all-out San Francisco. I love the way King explains the thought process of her detective -- this time, incorporating several false theories that have to be corrected (one casts false suspicion on the executor of Gilbert's will; the female suspect is another early suspect; also unclear for a large part of the book is the precise nature of Ian's connection with the new manuscript, and his personal tie to Gilbert himself. Nice touch - that the Holmes-era story set in the Bay area is a gay-rights story for the '20s. But the book's ending w. the gay wedding celebration seemed a bit stereotypical. I wonder if the relationship between Kate and Lee will deteriorate further in future books to the frequent cop scenario: troubled marriage resulting in divorce. Hope not.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Curt Buchmeier

    I'm glad that's over. This was neither mystery nor crime fiction. The whodunnit was pretty much a vehicle(& a broken-down one at that)for the author's real story; the personal life & relationship of the protagonist, Kate Martinelli, a San Francisco homicide detective who happens to be a lesbian. First I've ever read of Laurie R King. Apparently, this particular book ties two of her best-selling series' together. Having read all AC Doyle's Holmes stories many times over the years, I was d I'm glad that's over. This was neither mystery nor crime fiction. The whodunnit was pretty much a vehicle(& a broken-down one at that)for the author's real story; the personal life & relationship of the protagonist, Kate Martinelli, a San Francisco homicide detective who happens to be a lesbian. First I've ever read of Laurie R King. Apparently, this particular book ties two of her best-selling series' together. Having read all AC Doyle's Holmes stories many times over the years, I was disappointed. I don't care about the character's sexual preference or anything else that is so totally irrelevant to the story line, the mystery. That goes for Detective Kate Martinelli as well as Detective Davenport in the PREY novels. Seems Laurie King has a Creasey & an Edgar so, I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt & read something else of hers down the road. I'm in no hurry, however. So, now I'm looking forward to reading a real mystery by a different King (Stephen's JOYLAND). I deserve it after this slog!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chana

    Someone killed a man and put his body way up on the Marin headlands in an old gun emplacement. Said dead man was in his pajamas with clean feet. So who put him there? As they investigate they find out he is a Sherlockian, one of the people who are invested in Sherlock Holmes; as a collector or in re-enactments, that sort of thing. He belongs to a group of these people and they seem to be his only friends although no one is really close to him. But someone had motivation to kill him. Who was it? T Someone killed a man and put his body way up on the Marin headlands in an old gun emplacement. Said dead man was in his pajamas with clean feet. So who put him there? As they investigate they find out he is a Sherlockian, one of the people who are invested in Sherlock Holmes; as a collector or in re-enactments, that sort of thing. He belongs to a group of these people and they seem to be his only friends although no one is really close to him. But someone had motivation to kill him. Who was it? There is also a story within a story in this book; a manuscript that may have been written by Arthur Conan Doyle (no, not really - just fiction in this book) and in that story a man is murdered and left in a gun emplacement on the Marin headlands. The story within a story is written in a different style than the main story, a nice bit of work by the author. I liked the story within a story better than the current police procedural part of the book. All things considered it was a reasonably good book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This brilliant double-layered story brings together King’s two most popular series, the modern day Kate Martinelli mysteries set in San Francisco, and the Mary Russell Holmes series. As Kate is investigating the murder of a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, she uncovers a typewritten manuscript. The manuscript tells the story of an early twentieth-century detective in San Francisco, investigating the disappearance of a drag queen’s lover. Could the manuscript have been written by Conan Doyle? I loved how This brilliant double-layered story brings together King’s two most popular series, the modern day Kate Martinelli mysteries set in San Francisco, and the Mary Russell Holmes series. As Kate is investigating the murder of a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, she uncovers a typewritten manuscript. The manuscript tells the story of an early twentieth-century detective in San Francisco, investigating the disappearance of a drag queen’s lover. Could the manuscript have been written by Conan Doyle? I loved how King intertwined these stories, though I did think the Holmes story was more engaging than the modern story. As to whether the ‘writer’ of the manuscript was Conan Doyle, those who have read the Mary Russell books will have their own answer.

  19. 4 out of 5

    CatBookMom

    I liked the first Kate Martinelli book A Grave Talent, but I struggled with the 2nd, To Play the Fool, lost interest in the "Holy Fool" bits and nearly made it a DNF. I don't now recall why I pulled this up in the midst of some very different books, but I zipped right through it, though I admit I skipped over some of the interior story, purported to be by A Conan Doyle. At the end of the book, I find that I really like Kate and Lee and Al and the other characters.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tony Hisgett

    Having read all the Mary Russell books I was desperate to find anything else by Laurie King, fortunately I found the Kate Martinelli books. I have just read all 5 of them in less than a week and love them just as much as the Holmes/Russell books. The only problem seems to be that she has given up on this series (last book in 2006), this is a pity as Kate, Lee, Jules, Roz and Al are great characters.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melonie

    I read this so I could continue the Sherlock Holmes story set in San Francisco from the previous Mary Russell novel. I'm not much for modern setting detective novels, but because it is Laurie King, it was interesting. The Sherlock Holmes sections being my favorite, not necessarily the Kate Martinelli portions. If you haven't read any of the Mary Russell novels, just forget this review and go get reading!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    So bummed this series is over!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hall

    Excellent ! I wish there were more Kate Martinelli books!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jane Night

    I liked the book. I didn’t quite love it but I absolutely liked it. This is the only book I read in the series and I probably won’t read any more but it was a good mystery and a decent book. I was drawn to the book because I like Sherlock Holmes and having a murder based around a fan of his was fun. I liked that the book could be read without having ever read another book in the series. I generally think mysteries should be stand-alones but I find that many are hard to understand if that is the onl I liked the book. I didn’t quite love it but I absolutely liked it. This is the only book I read in the series and I probably won’t read any more but it was a good mystery and a decent book. I was drawn to the book because I like Sherlock Holmes and having a murder based around a fan of his was fun. I liked that the book could be read without having ever read another book in the series. I generally think mysteries should be stand-alones but I find that many are hard to understand if that is the only book you have read. So, just being an enjoyable stand alone is a ton of points in this books favor. I really enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes themes to the book. It was a lot of fun. There is a pretty large section of the book that was a story within a story. I wasn’t nuts about that at first but it ended up being fun to read. I do think it took away from the main action in the book a little but it is pretty important to the story. So if it was neat why am I not going to grab more? I thought it was neat based on Sherlock Holmes theme but nothing about characters or writing made me hungry for more. Also, and there is no PC way to say this, but there was just so much focus on gay issues. Kinda turned me off. I am pro gay marriage. I have no problem with people being gay. Heck, I have written a gay romance and am about to start writing another. I just thought it was excessive in the book. The main character is a lesbian (no problem there). *Slight Spoiler* Then the main plot and the sub-plot mysteries both involve gay issues. Basically murders would both have been prevented if people would mind their own business about the sexuality of others and let people love who they want. Again, I agree in principle. I even tell my daughters when they play video games that involve relationships (Stardew Valley mostly) that they can marry a girl or a boy. Both are fine options. Their choice. The problem with the book wasn’t the ideology but how I felt like it was made into a huge deal in the story. This book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it is a decent mystery that reads as a stand alone.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    In general I love both the Late Martinelli series and the Mary Russell series. Unfortunately, in this novel, King tries to combine the two. In this mystery, Kate is confronted with the murder of a Sherlock Holmes devotee who has recreated a victorian showplace in his home, complete with all the details one would expect of Sherlock lived there. The suspects are all members of a Sherlock Holmes can group. The mystery turns on the fact that the victim had discovered a story that could be an undisco In general I love both the Late Martinelli series and the Mary Russell series. Unfortunately, in this novel, King tries to combine the two. In this mystery, Kate is confronted with the murder of a Sherlock Holmes devotee who has recreated a victorian showplace in his home, complete with all the details one would expect of Sherlock lived there. The suspects are all members of a Sherlock Holmes can group. The mystery turns on the fact that the victim had discovered a story that could be an undiscovered Doyle manuscript. Unfortunately, the modern day story takes a screeching halt as we read the older story along with our hero. The supposed manuscript is narrated by a Brittish character using the name of Seigerson, as Holmes had actually done on occasion. The inside joke here is that it is obvious to anyone who enjoys both of the author's series that the story is actually "written" by Holmes during the time that he and Russell visited San Francisco. In part of the book, " Locked Rooms", Mary has traveled with friends, this In the short story, the character returns to his "currently empty" bed. The short story was a great addition to the Russell series. I absolutely adored it. The story centers on a gay theme. Because the main character solved a mystery for a drag queen and treats her with respect, this causes problems in the book for those who believe that it is truly a Doyle manuscript. Both the mysteries are entertaining, but I find that by bookending the short story with the novel, the longer story suffers. Also, King does sometimes get a bit preachy about gay politics. I wish she would fall off her soapbox and spend a little more time developing the mystery. I was disappointed with the trite ending of the police story, but loved the personal developments for the main characters at the very end of the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kat Hagedorn

    http://tinyurl.com/ybzkx95x This one tickled my fancy more than others she's written. What King did here was put ALL her feelings about the LGBT community into one smartly delivered package (although it's certainly true that her previous books have provided plenty of her thoughts in that area). And, of course, she takes this opportunity to start merging her series together - in this case her Sherlock Holmes series and her lesbian detective series - by writing a short story a la Holmes inside a con http://tinyurl.com/ybzkx95x This one tickled my fancy more than others she's written. What King did here was put ALL her feelings about the LGBT community into one smartly delivered package (although it's certainly true that her previous books have provided plenty of her thoughts in that area). And, of course, she takes this opportunity to start merging her series together - in this case her Sherlock Holmes series and her lesbian detective series - by writing a short story a la Holmes inside a contemporary detective novel. At first, I was surprised that she was going to have Martinelli read the entire story, but when I had finished that part, I understood why she followed that course of action. The short story is integral to the completion of the novel, mostly because they mirror each other but also because they contain precisely the same themes. There are all the hallmarks of the Martinelli stories - lesbian families, supportive cops and friends, descriptions of some of the best places in the San Francisco area (hello, Marin Headlands!), life-threatening situations only Kate can handle - but it is missing one common theme, which is religion. One of the things I have always liked about King stories is that they often contain theological themes. In this novel, she has supplanted that with something equally important. The book also feels like it's wrapping up a lot of history (aka 5 novels in the same series) and I don't expect to see another one for Kate Martinelli for a long time, if ever. I think I'm okay with that, because of how she finished this one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelley S. Kent

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I’ve never read a Laurie King novel before. I don’t think I’ll ever read one again. The writing and plotting were terrible. For contemporary mysteries, Sandra Orchard and B. A. Shapiro are better writers. Detail: less is more. This is a cardinal rule. Yet King left nothing to the imagination. She also used Kate’s last name too often. After the first chapter, the name Martinelli should have appeared only when Kate introduced herself in the line of work. The passive voice seemed excessive too. I can I’ve never read a Laurie King novel before. I don’t think I’ll ever read one again. The writing and plotting were terrible. For contemporary mysteries, Sandra Orchard and B. A. Shapiro are better writers. Detail: less is more. This is a cardinal rule. Yet King left nothing to the imagination. She also used Kate’s last name too often. After the first chapter, the name Martinelli should have appeared only when Kate introduced herself in the line of work. The passive voice seemed excessive too. I can't believe that Kate didn’t pick up on the timing of Ian’s last meeting with Philip or the fact that he was likely the only one who’d read the manuscript. Instead, she distrusted Tom Rutland the attorney, supposedly because he was 'too helpful.' So Kate’s a really bad reader of people! The manuscript narrator was a better detective. Still, the solution to the manuscript’s provenance was odd. If the story was true, Conan Doyle may still have written it, but the narrator wasn’t Sherlock Holmes. The odds are good that Philip would have embarrassed himself in public with a fake. King’s portrayal of a lesbian family: it’s too perfect, like she’s looking at a snow globe. I’d rather hear about family dynamics from real lesbians – good and bad, highs and lows. I’d rather see imperfect people work through issues. Anything resembling perfection is a façade, which makes it unreal. The same is true of hetero marriages. No family or relationship is perfect.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mac Marland

    The first Kate Martinelli novel by Laurie King, A Grave Talent, I thought was fabulous. KM is a woman cop who was promoted to Homicide along with the wizened older homicide pro. Oh, and she is a lesbian, hiding that fact for fear of hindrance to her career. The murder investigation was winding and interesting, and during this we meet Vaun Adams, "a female Rembrandt" in the author's own words. Much of the story entailed learning about the type of art Adams did, with interesting meanderings about The first Kate Martinelli novel by Laurie King, A Grave Talent, I thought was fabulous. KM is a woman cop who was promoted to Homicide along with the wizened older homicide pro. Oh, and she is a lesbian, hiding that fact for fear of hindrance to her career. The murder investigation was winding and interesting, and during this we meet Vaun Adams, "a female Rembrandt" in the author's own words. Much of the story entailed learning about the type of art Adams did, with interesting meanderings about her art and art and artists, and also about KM's homelife. All of this seemed to ties into the story, but I may be biased as I am an art and art history lover. What does this have to do with The Art of Detection? Again, much of the book is peripheral to the story. There are a good deal of pages telling us what she does at home, about her partner and their child. I don't care about that, I am reading a police procedural! We learn that the murder victim was in possession of what he thought was an unpublished Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle. The middle third of the book....is the entire story! I don't want to read that, if I did I might read her other series dealing with the elder, and married, S. Holmes. So sadly, Kate and I are done. I will not finish a series I thought was promising. Nope, no more.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Rereading this since it was mentioned in a footnote in The Language of Bees as including some of the prior history of Holmes and Russell. Kate Martinelli of the San Francisco PD is working on a murder case where the body of a Sherlockian fanatic is found in a gun emplacement on the coast; a situation eerily similar to a supposedly unpublished Sherlock Holmes short story discovered by the victim. The story within a story covers something else Holmes did while he and Russell were in San Francisco Rereading this since it was mentioned in a footnote in The Language of Bees as including some of the prior history of Holmes and Russell. Kate Martinelli of the San Francisco PD is working on a murder case where the body of a Sherlockian fanatic is found in a gun emplacement on the coast; a situation eerily similar to a supposedly unpublished Sherlock Holmes short story discovered by the victim. The story within a story covers something else Holmes did while he and Russell were in San Francisco (see Locked Rooms.) Russell does not appear, however. It's an interesting mashup of Kate Martinelli and Holmes. I always enjoy the Martinelli books, of course, but having the Holmes story added made it special.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bill Currie

    This novel is more about relationships than crime. The investigation with in the investigation is a useful tool and connects us with a Sherlockian story yet it is the social commentary underlying the central theme that keeps your attention. But no more on this other angle as it's for you to find out. But being born and raised San Franciscian I found myself reliving my youth of riding across the Golden Gate bridge, peddling up the hills along the Marin Highlands and scampering around the old artil This novel is more about relationships than crime. The investigation with in the investigation is a useful tool and connects us with a Sherlockian story yet it is the social commentary underlying the central theme that keeps your attention. But no more on this other angle as it's for you to find out. But being born and raised San Franciscian I found myself reliving my youth of riding across the Golden Gate bridge, peddling up the hills along the Marin Highlands and scampering around the old artillery fortifications and batteries. So this book took me back and allowed me to touch the familiar places of my childhood. It was a great place to develope into a crime scene.

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