1monstrousA Monstrous Regiment of Women is the second in Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. I’ve since read A Letter of Mary, the third in that series, so I think my review of this book will be slightly colored by having read that already. Here’s a brief synopsis from Amazon:

…[I]n A Monstrous Regiment of Women, Mary Russell’s adventures as a student of the famous detective continue. A series of murders claims members of a strange suffrage organization’s wealthy young female volunteers, and Mary, with Holmes in the background, investigates, little knowing what danger she personally faces.

While I did enjoy this book, it was my least favorite of the three I’ve read so far. The novel focused mostly on Mary, and her thoughts and feelings about her relationship with Holmes. While the mystery was intriguing, I felt it took a backseat to the relationship and character development, and thus wasn’t resolved quite as believably as I would have liked. Also, the ending of mystery came quite quickly, and seemed slightly hurried.

That being said, I loved the language and writing style of this book. In fact, one of the ending passages is probably my favorite of all that I’ve read in King’s books so far. I loved reading Russell’s thoughts and actions in parallel, and read that portion a few additional times. There’s also a character who is described as very persuasive and a powerful speaker. I thought King did a great job with her dialogue; many times her speeches began moving me to action!

The major “hook” of this novel, for me, occurred at the novel’s conclusion. The unexpected event grabbed me, and made me want to immediately grab the next novel to see how it played out. In a lot of ways, this makes me feel like A Monstrous Regiment of Women is setting up the rest of King’s series; it’s not something to scream over, but its not something to lament either. If you loved The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, this novel is worth the read.

* Photo from The Baker Street Challenge