Justice Hall by Laurie R. King

I stayed up well past my bedtime to finish Justice Hall last night””it was a terrific read. However, I’m going to have to rule against the mystery note writer: under no circumstances should you skip ahead in the series to this book. At a minimum, you need to have read O Jerusalem, to make the acquaintance of Mahmoud and Ali Hazr, or you won’t understand the enormity of the sacrifice each is making for the sake of family. Yes, Russell alludes to it, but it’s the difference between being told that something momentous has happened, and witnessing it yourself. (And, of course, you should have read The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, the first in the series; the events of O Jerusalem occur during a lacuna in that story.)

The mysteries underlying the story were well-plotted and intriguing. I admit I saw the big twist coming from chapters away, and I had picked out the correct killer, but that didn’t diminish my pleasure in following Russell to the revelation of both. That’s what makes this a series that will stay in my collection, when so many others get read once and passed along: it’s not really the mysteries that keep my attention, but the way they unravel and the pleasure of spending time with the interesting people King creates.

There are only two books left in the series (as it stands today), so I’m taking a break from King for a bit, to slow the arrival of the sad day when I no longer have a new Mary Russell novel to look forward to. It’s a challenge, though: the eighth novel is set in San Francisco, which lovely city I’ll be visiting with the Countess next week. I’m sorely tempted to rush through (or skip) #7 and take #8 on the trip, so I can trail Mary around San Francisco as she works the case.

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7 Responses to Justice Hall by Laurie R. King

  1. Ramona the Reader says:

    Having just finished Justice Hall, I have to agree with Kai – even if you pick out the correct killer and foresee the plot twist, the sheer enjoyment of reading Laurie King is wonderful.
    Now I have only one Mary Russell novel left to read (Locked Rooms) as I read #7 while waiting for #6 to arrive via post. Should I wait awhile? Savour the suspense? Or dip right back in and enjoy this series even if it is the last book?

  2. kaizerin says:

    Mmm…that’s a hard call, R. I totally understand wanting to keep it unread as long as possible–it’s nice to have a Mary Russell to look forward to. On the other hand, I’m really looking forward to #8 especially, so once I do start #7, it’ll probably be a non-stop double-header.

    Either way, let us know what you decide!

  3. Ramona the Reader says:

    It was an easy decision – I’m already well into #8. I’m enjoying the SF scenes – orienting myself to where I have been and where Mary is as I read.
    I was under the impression you took #8 with you to SF to read??? Was that a Kate M book?

  4. kaizerin says:

    Yah, I took a Kate M. book instead. I’m holding off a little longer on the last two Mary books. Ah, the pleasures of delayed gratification.

  5. Ramona the Reader says:

    I just finished Locked Rooms. You are going to love it. I was so afraid this might be the last of the Mary Russell series, but according to Ms. King’s website, there will be a #9.*
    Your mystery note writer suggested skipping 1-5 as #6 was the best. In my humble opinion, that honor goes to #8.
    Many, many, many years ago, I read a novel set during the SF earthquake and while Locked Rooms devotes only a few pages of description to what it was like living there during the earthquake and consequential fires, it is a reminder of what that must have been like.
    I think you will also appreciate the feng shui elements of this book.
    * I’m sure you have already added her website to your favorites list. Her reading list is interesting, don’t you think?

  6. kaizerin says:

    Ooh, goody! I’m looking forward to it!

    I’ve been trying to recall a novel I read when I was young (so very likely, it was one of yours) set during the 1906 quake. It was a slim, Gothic-type horror/romance about a young woman returning to the family home, secrets, mysteries, vague threats on her life…I recall the title as being “Silence is Golden”. Ring any bells for you?

    I have looked around LRK’s site a bit–found her bio very interesting, in the light of Russell and Holmes’ relationship, but will have to go back and have a look at the reading list.

    I started Elizabeth Kostova’s “The Historian” today, feeling it was appropriate to the weather (howling downpour), and have been rooted to the spot for hours now. Very intriguing, so far.

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