Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, are approached by an old friend who needs help for his cousin. Bedouins Ali and Mahmoud Hazr are now known as Alistair and Marsh. Unbeknownst to the first couple, when they met Ali and Mahmoud in O! Jerusalem, the two are actually Englishmen who were deep under cover in the Middle East. Due to some tragic circumstances, Marsh has been called back to England. He is now the seventh Duke of Hughenfort. His nephew had been in line, but was killed in World War I at the battlefront.
Marsh doesn't want the title but cannot throw over old family traditions. He also believes there is more to the story of Gabriel Hughenfort's death in the war. He is tied up in tradition and hating it. Alistair hopes Russell and Holmes can find a way for Marsh to return to his preferred life yet save the honor, name, and control of the Hughenfort title and fortune.
Justice Hall is the Hughenfort family mansion. This manor is as much a part of the story as any of the human characters. It has been standing for seven centuries or so and has watched over constant changes. Now it has to change again as the family deals with the aftermath of World War I - personally in the death of Gabriel Hughenfort, economically as taxes grow and English economics are in upheaval, politically - especially with the rise of a new group or party in Germany, and emotionally as each person involved in this novel deals with the aftermath.
Laurie R. King has developed a rich story. The reader can feel Marsh' despair when he first comes into the story. As more things are discovered, the man gradually recovers his old, sly, strong self. Alistair has always been Marsh' follower. King shows us how content and happy this character is in the role. It is his intervention that sets the new wheels in motion to find other relatives who may also be in line for the dukedom.
Even the minor characters, like Ogelby, the butler, comes to life. The first half of the book is slower as all the pieces are positioned for the second half. At times it tends to drag - I was able to walk away from the book for long periods of time. But it picks up pace in the second portion of the book and the reader comes away satisfied.
Justice Hall is a detective novel, so there are clues to the solution that don't appear until much later in the book. The reader can't figure out who done it or what exactly is happening until about the time Russell and Holmes see the solutions as well.
Sit back, pick up your deerstalker hat, your magnifying glass, and detective's mind and enjoy Justice Hall.
| The Series:
The Beekeeper's Apprentice
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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