Mary Russell becomes involved with a semi-religious group which is headed by a intriguing woman named Margery Childe. Russell finds the group interesting because of its ties to religion, the social changes it tries to make, and perhaps above all, the odd, intense power Margery seems to have over her followers. There are several murders in this story, but it takes a bit before Russell begins to realize how they are tied together - and how she can determine who's behind them. This story also highlights the depth of Russell's friendship with Sherlock Holmes (it's the sequel to The Beekeeper's Apprentice.)
In the second Mary Russell story, two years have passed since the events in _The Beekeeper's Apprentice_, and Mary is in her third year at Oxford and about to turn 21 and come into her inheritance. It is the winter of 1920-21. A friend from school introduces her to the New Temple of God and its charismatic leader, the feminist and possible religious mystic Margery Childe. Mary notices that wealthy young women who have volunteered for the church and made room for it in their wills have been dying regularly and mysteriously, much to the organization's enrichment. She decides to probe deeper, with help from her friend and mentor, Sherlock Holmes. King is a fine writer, and though the mystery itself is not all that compelling, her characters -- particularly her narrator/heroine and her excellent evocation of the great private consulting detective -- and the recreation of London in the 1920s are superb.
This report prepared by David Loftus