A Monstrous Regiment of Women (A Mary Russell Mystery)
Laurie R. King
A Monstrous Regiment of Women continues Mary Russell's adventures as a worthy student of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and as an ever more skilled sleuth in her own right. Looking for respite in London after a stupefying visit from relatives, Mary encounters a friend from Oxford. The young woman introduces Mary to her current enthusiasm, a strange and enigmatic woman named Margery Childe, who leads something called "The New Temple of God." It seems to be a charismatic sect involved in the post-World War I suffrage movement, with a feminist slant on Christianity.
This is another very enjoyable excursion into the world of Sherlock Holmes, and combines so many interesting ideas and issues: Feminism, post WWI Britain, Talmudic studies, the nature of faith and belief, drug addiction, are just the start of the list. Mary Russell and Holmes present a remarkable combination, and yes, their romance is part of the story - though handled with great restraint and without (IMHO) straining the existing fabric of the Holmes canon.
Yes, I've already moved on to book 3, A Letter from Mary, which looks like it has aspects of the Da Vinci Code about it.... though I expect done better (no, I've not yet read that one - maybe in a while).