Tag Archives: Allison & Busby

More Novels in the Russell Series by Laurie R. King Available in the UK from Allison and Busby

Available from Amazon UK.

Available from Amazon UK.

By ScotKris

Fans of Laurie King have another year to wait until the next instalment of Mary Russell’s journals, so it is with considerable satisfaction that It’s a Crime! can report that those lovely people over at Allison and Busby are releasing the ‘missing four’ Russell titles, previously unavailable for a dozen or more years.

The first of these missing titles, A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary, are available now, with The Moor and Justice Hall coming shortly. What’s more, with four more stunning cover designs, the entire series of (currently twelve) novels is available for the first time with a uniform series ‘look’, and full credit to the publisher’s designer for such beautiful covers.

Available from Amazon UK.

Available from Amazon UK.

Where The Beekeeper’s Apprentice laid the groundwork, A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary were the early showcases of Miss Russell (with Mr Holmes, naturally), taking her forward to the 1920s and into investigations both baffling and intriguing. Theology and detective work go hand in hand and we also see the growing partnership between Russell and Holmes which forms the cornerstone of this unique series.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women sees an Oxford friend of Russell introducing her to the ‘New Temple of God’, which, if appearances are to be believed, is a sect involved in the suffrage movement of post-War years; however, appearances can be deceptive and when one murder follows another, Russell investigates …

More information at Allison and Busby.

More information at Allison and Busby.

The Moor then takes us to Dartmoor, paying homage to a certain Conan Doyle tale, but Justice Hall, for me, marked a turning point in the series. While following on directly from the events of The Moor, Justice Hall reintroduces characters first met in Palestine in events described in O Jerusalem, and involves Russell in a mystery that dates back to the Great War. Rich descriptions bring to life the Justice Hall of the title which, for me, is one of the most evocative books in this very compelling series and the closing pages remain with me some 12 years since I first read them – a telling sign.

More information at Allison and Busby.

More information at Allison and Busby.

As I have said before, one of King’s many strengths is her ability to create images in her novels that draw you into the era, cleverly combining real events with the fictitious, and in which her characters play their own unique roles. Never do readers feel they are subject to a history lesson; indeed they come away feeling enriched, entertained and truly satisfied.

With the reappearance of these four books comes an opportunity to revisit old friends or to discover them for the first time; the only shame is that a year must pass before Russell returns in Dreaming Spies!

Rogue’s Gallery – Robert Barnard

Few crime writers these days have the time (or publishers’ will) to produce sufficient short fiction to make an entire volume available to readers in book form; even for the once-prolific Ruth Rendell, it has been over ten years since her last collection was published.

Proving that crime is alive and well in the short story format, Robert Barnard’s latest compelling collection, Rogue’s Gallery comprises 14 short stories written mostly over the last decade. Short stories can be very hit or miss, but these are diamonds amongst the rough.  Whilst perhaps not seeking to address big issues, they provide highly entertaining asides and come with some of the very dark twists familiar to readers of Barnard’s fiction.  In “Family Values”, a mother and son display a loving public relationship that fuels the suspicion of those around them, the story coming with an unexpected take on affairs; and “A Political Necessity” has the reader rooting for the wronged – but do we really know who that is…?

It is good to see the current resurgence (and success) of short crime fiction in e-book format, giving new readers the opportunity to discover some old treats.  It is also a pleasure to see this, Barnard’s third collection, released, in both traditional and e-book form.  Short fiction is a format which Barnard embraces as ably as he does his full-length novels, and this collection is perfect for either curling up with on a cold Sunday afternoon and reading from beginning to end, or equally ideal for those shorter moments when time is of the essence.

Available now at Amazon, in HB and with a keenly priced e-book.

The Hanging Wood – Martin Edwards

Martin Edwards returns to his series of Lake District Mysteries with this, the fifth volume, The Hanging Wood.

20 years after Callum Hinds disappeared, presumed dead, and with the suicide of the boy’s uncle days after used as a convenient scapegoat, his sister Orla returns to the area and is determined to have the case re-opened. She tells local historian Daniel Kind that she believes her uncle to be innocent of the crime and he recommends that she contact Hannah Scarlett, who heads up Cumbria Police’s Cold Case unit. However, after two incoherent telephone calls to the Unit, Orla is found dead on her estranged father’s farm, and so begins another beguiling case for Hannah Scarlett and her team.

Whilst Orla’s death is marked as a suicide, the question of ‘why’ remains open; and when another death follows swiftly on, Hannah is left looking for connections between three deaths, 20 years apart.

Martin Edwards’ use of landscape and character to bewitchingly build the tension is always evident in this series, which itself is a rarity for being known by its location, as opposed to its lead characters. This allows for scope and the opportunity to introduce new characters to move each story forward and develop the series as a whole. Small communities may be a hive of hidden tension but Edwards makes it all so believable while never over-dramatising, and The Hanging Wood comes as a highly recommended novel of suspense.

The novel is available in hardback and for the Kindle at Amazon.

Find out more about the novel at Allison & Busby and the author’s site as well as read Martin’s informative blog here.

Third Strike – Zoë Sharp

[Originally published on It’s a crime! on June 27, 2008. Re-issued due to site page issues.]

Charlie Fox, ex-Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard, storm-troops into her seventh outing in rip-roaring style, in what transpires to be her most personal of missions.  From previous cases, we know that there is no love lost between Charlie and her parents, her father Richard Foxcroft in particular.  He has never approved of having a trained killer for a daughter, believing that this will ultimately lead to her own destruction. Indeed, so great has his disapproval been in both her choice of career and of partner, she has long since shortened her name from Foxcroft to further disassociate themselves as family. Continue reading

Pirate King – Laurie R King

The latest adventure for the intrepid Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes takes readers into the frenetic world of silent films, where the pirates are real and the shooting isn’t all done with cameras.  In England’s young silent-film industry, the megalomaniacal Randolph Fflytte is king. Nevertheless, Mary Russell is dispatched to investigate the criminal activities that surround Fflytte’s popular movie studio.  So Russell is travelling undercover to Portugal, along with the film crew that is gearing up to shoot a cinematic extravaganza, Pirate King.  But as movie make-believe becomes true terror, Russell and Holmes themselves may experience a final fadeout. Continue reading