Winner of the Lambda Award
“King’s two series had already been drawing closer together in Locked Rooms (2005), which sent Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell to San Francisco. Now, Detective Kate Martinelli, SFPD (Night Work, 2000, etc.) meets Holmes, or at least a bunch of Holmesians….
“Unimpressed by the shadow of Holmes and originally skeptical about the manuscript [owned by the victim, Philip Gilbert], Kate changes her mind when she reads it. The embedded adventure, nearly 100 pages long, recounts the arrival of ‘Mr. Sigerson’ (one of Holmes’s trademark pseudonyms) in San Francisco; his commission by a transvestite chanteuse to find her, or his, missing swain; and his discovery of the young man’s body in the exact place Gilbert’s own corpse would turn up 80 years later.” (from the Kirkus review)
Read an excerpt from The Art of Detection.
Listen to an interview with LRK by Kacey Kowers.
Read Laurie’s thoughts on writing The Art of Detection on her blog.
Buy It Here
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What they say
King’s imagination is as generous as ever, and her use of the Sherlockian canon to ventilate contemporary issues is clever and impassioned.
From the first page, the reader is catapulted into the gas-lit world of Holmes, which is a bit disconcerting for Kate [Martinelli], but a true joy to Ms. King’s readers…. When Kate and her fellow police inspector, Al Hawkin, are called to investigate a body dumped in a public park, they find themselves immersed in the world of Sherlock Holmes. The victim is the founding member of a local Sherlockian society, and has come into possession of what may very well be a heretofore unknown manuscript. Martinelli fans will rejoice to journey with Kate on her investigation of this complex and challenging case, and Russell fans will be thrilled to read what could be an explanation for some of the time Sherlock and Mary spent in San Francisco all those many years ago. With her fascinating and unique voice, I can and do recommend all things by Laurie R. King, but with this novel, I have to say I think she’s outdone herself.
– Seattle Mystery Bookshop, an excellent independent bookstore
The Art of Detection is a delight!
– Mystery Women
Sometimes a mystery takes one’s breath away with its impeccable, inexorable logic. King makes two such tales here, whose wheels interlock with a perfect, audible click. Kate Martinelli, homicide detective in San Francisco, catches a murder case in which the corpse has been found on the Marin headlands in Battery DuMaurier, an artillery site, now long out of use, constructed in the nineteenth century to guard San Francisco Bay. The victim is Philip Gilbert, a gentleman who had turned the first floor of his home into a perfect replica of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street. Kate’s involvement in the case is further tangled when a typescript turns up in Gilbert’s possession telling the tale (recounted in a voice sounding very much like Holmes himself) of a 1924 transvestite and her military lover, whose corpse was also found in Battery DuMaurier. The pages of this tale are interspersed with Kate’s investigation, allowing King not only to bring her Mary Russell and Martinelli series together with incredible elegance but also to allow us glimpses of Kate, her partner Leonora, their daughter Nora, and the rainbow families of the Bay Area juxtaposed against the tough daily grind of police work. There’s also the opportunity to explore every facet of Holmes fandom, from the sublime and scholarly to the deliriously ridiculous. A tour-de-force and a great read.
Bestseller King (The Game) meshes her two best-known series–contemporary police procedurals set in San Francisco featuring Kate Martinelli of the SFPD and the period stories of Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes—to create an intelligent, satisfying novel of suspense. Martinelli is investigating the death of Philip Gilbert, an obsessive, avid Holmes collector (he’s even transformed his San Francisco house into a replica of 221B Baker Street), when she discovers what could be the motive: a previously unpublished story from Arthur Conan Doyle, told from Holmes’s point of view, a find that could be worth millions. The present-day narrative is interspersed with the purported Conan Doyle story, which resonates with the account of Martinelli’s own domestic live. A fine, perceptive storyteller, King is particularly adroit at capturing the milieus in which her characters reside. Fans of both series will be well rewarded. – Publishers Weekly
What was happening in San Francisco in 1924?
…and in the gay community of the Twenties?
Find out more about Arthur Conan Doyle
And for Gay San Francisco, then AND now
The Marin Headlands fortifications:
The GGNRA today
A general history of the headlands
And for the academically minded: A History of Seacoast Fortifications in the San Francisco Bay
The cove behind the lighthouse