Laurie R. King is a writer and American author that is best known by fans for her detective fiction. She was born on September 19, 1952 in Oakland, California. King graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz in 1977 with a degree in comparative religion and later graduated from the Graduate Theological Union with a masters in theology in 1984. Her thesis focused on “Feminine Aspects of Yahweh”. She received an honorary degree later from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. Her first book of the Kate Martinelli series, Grave Talent, won an Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1994. She also received the John Creasey Memorial Award for the novel in 1995.
Laurie R. King’s books include the Mary Russell series, a series of novels that are set in the historical mystery genre. They feature Sherlock Holmes as Mary’s mentor and later partner. Her crime series feature Kate Martinelli, a fictional police officer that is also a lesbian operating in the San Francisco, California area. She published a futuristic novel called Califia’s Daughter in 2004 under the pseudonym Leigh Richards. King has won the Nero Award in 1996 for her book A Monstrous Regiment of Women and the Macavity Award for Best Novel in 2002 for Folly. She won the Lambda Award in 2007 for Best Lesbian Mystery for her book The Art of Detection. She has been nominated for four RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, an Orange Prize, two Edgars, a Barry, two Anthonys, and an Agatha.
King currently lives in the Watsonville, California area, south east of Santa Cruz in the hills overlooking Monterey Bay. She was married to Noel Quinton King, a historian, from 1977 until his passing in early 2009. They have two children together, Zoe and Nathan.
A Grave Talent
Grave Talent was first published in 1993. It is the first book in the Kate Martinelli series by King. Kate Martinelli belongs to the San Francisco Police Department and is extremely reserved and prefers to solve cases the old fashioned way in the place of using modern techniques, something she is criticized for. She has a lover as well, a psychologist who is almost the opposite of Kate’s personality in every way. Kate’s partner at work is Al Hawkin. Kate has just been promoted to Homicide and her partner is not thrilled to have a green partner. It’s going to be a long ride, especially because of the latest case that’s come in. The unthinkable has occurred in a small community that lies just outside San Francisco. After the bodies of four children have been found strangled in the San Francisco area, the police force appoints inspectors to investigate the murder of the young girls and bring the perpetrator to justice.
Kate “Casey” Martinelli and Al Hawkin are assigned to the case to track down the murderer. It isn’t long before the dark light of suspicion falls onto the persona of the famous artist Vaun Adams, one of the greatest painters of women of the century. This is a potentially case breaking lead, Adams had been convicted years before of murdering a young girl, so it only makes sense that the artist might have something else hiding behind all the pain on the canvas. However, when someone tries to murder Vaun as well but fails to finish the job, the police force must conclude that there must be someone else who is responsible for the murders of the young girls. Suspicion moves onto the egotistical and maniacal Andy Lewis, Vaun’s ex boyfriend, as the potential murderer. He could be a lurking psychopath trying to exact revenge on his former lover, or this could just be another of a series of dead ends.To bring the murderer of these young girls to the justice they deserve, Kate Martinelli must dive into the past of the dark artist, regardless of the consequences.
Kate’s partner Hawkin convinces Kate to set up a trap for Lewis in her home. Kate is reluctant, but in the end she lets Vaun recover at her home. Lewis shows up and says that he will murder Kate along with her psychologist lover Lee so that Vaun takes the blame. Lee calls the police to let them know Lewis is there, but Lewis has enough time to shoot Lee and disable her for life before being taken out by a sniper. Kate must find out what happened in Vaun’s past and track down the murderer once and for all, even if it means losing everything she cares about. Will Kate Martinelli be able to track down the killer of those young girls and put them where they belong?
To Play The Fool
The sequel to the first Kate Martinelli mystery novel was published in 1995. The title is derived from a line in Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night”, where the jester says that it takes a wise man to play a fool. Celebrated author Laurie R. King is back again to show readers what Kate Martinelli’s got. The story starts off with a group of homeless people cremating a loved pet dog in the Golden Gate Park of San Francisco. Normally, the authorities are willing to look away over incidents like this and ignore a few bent regulations. But when the owner of the dog gets the same exact fiery send off to the next plane, the San Francisco Police Department recognizes that there is a serious problem here.
Inspector Kate Martinelli along with her partner Al Hawkin don’t have a lot to go on other than the information they have about a particularly grisly homicide. Their victim is homeless and doesn’t have a positive ID, and any witnesses that were there don’t exactly love cops. The other possible suspect is known as Brother Erasmus. With a little digging, Kate finds out that Erasmus knows the homeless of the park well. Yet the suspect remains a mystery. No one thinks he’s insane, but he does seem like he is a fool. Martinelli must interrogate a man who only talks through the use of quotations. She tries to learn about his history, and the deeper in she gets, the more the plot thickens. Before long, Martinelli is being led along a twisted road that includes dark secrets, a disbanded cult, the quiet thirst for spirituality, and the appetite for bloody vengeance.
Books in order of publication:
Kate Martinelli Books
|A Grave Talent||(1993)|
|To Play the Fool||(1995)|
|The Art of Detection||(2006)|
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Books
|The Beekeeper’s Apprentice||(1994)|
|A Monstrous Regiment of Women||(1995)|
|A Letter of Mary||(1997)|
|The Language of Bees||(2009)|
|The God of the Hive||(2010)|
|Garment of Shadows||(2012)|
|Mrs. Hudson’s Case||(2012)|
|The Marriage of Mary Russell||(2016)|
|The Murder of Mary Russell||(2016)|
|Mary Russell’s War||(2016)|
|Island of the Mad||(2018)|
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Books
The events of O Jerusalem take place towards the end of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.
|The Bones of Paris||(2013)|
|A Darker Place||(1999)|
|A Study in Sherlock||(2011)|
|In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon||(2014)|
|Echoes of Sherlock Holmes||(2016)|
|For the Sake of the Game||(2018)|
|The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing||(2012)|
|Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes||(2013)|