It's 1923, and Mary Russell and her husband (Sherlock Holmes) are paid a call by an old acquaintance. Dorothy Ruskin is an archaeologist with an interest in the Holy Land ... and a letter that she believes was written by Mary Magdalene. She is depending up on Russell's linguistic skills for a translation and verification.
And then, Ruskin is murdered. Suspects abound, and soon Russell and Holmes are in the thick of things.
As a long-time Holmesian, I find other authors' take on the tales to be fascinating. Laurie King's Holmes is an elderly man who enjoys a cerebral relationship with his much-younger wife ... and who treats her as an equal despite his much-vaunted misogyny. This puts him in a different class from the majority of men in the book, who seem to constantly underestimate both Ruskin and Russell solely because of their gender.
King does a delightful job of capturing the sights and sounds of England and the Holy Land in the 1920s due to some impeccable research and a love for her characters.
The ultimate whodunnit turns out to be something of a surprise in this one, and the lead-up is a non-stop ride of entertainment. Highly recommended.