Thursday, January 03, 2008

Break Out the Good China. Royalty’s Coming

This Friday--that’s tomorrow, for all of you who are still trying to recover a sense of time after the recent holiday rush--we’ll have the pleasure of welcoming to The Rap Sheet Laurie R. King, author of the new historical thriller Touchstone. She’ll be guest-blogging here the whole day long.

According to her online biography, “King was born in Northern California, the third generation in her family native to the San Francisco area. She spent her childhood reading her way through libraries like a termite through balsa, and her middle years raising children, traveling the world, and studying theology, earning a B.A. degree in comparative religion and an M.A. in Old Testament Theology. She now lives a genteel life of crime, back again in Northern California.”

King’s first novel, the Edgar Award-winning A Grave Talent (1993), introduced crime-fiction readers to Kate Martinelli, the lesbian San Francisco homicide inspector who has since headlined four more books, the latest of those being 2006’s The Art of Detection. King may be better known, however, for her series featuring Mary Russell, the resourceful younger woman and scholar who, in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (1994), met an aging Sherlock Holmes in Sussex in the early 20th century, learned his methods, and eventually married him--at least in King’s fiction.

On top of those popular series installments, the 55-year-old King has penned a handful of standalone novels, including A Darker Place (1999) and Keeping Watch (2003). Of her latest, Touchstone (which came out just before the new year began, but carries a 2008 publication date), critic Dick Adler wrote in January Magazine:
Everything Laurie R. King writes is first-class, from her modern, totally feminist and often surprisingly touching Kate Martinelli mysteries to her Mary Russell thrillers, which manage to carry on with (and improve upon) Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales of Sherlock Holmes and give the Great Detective a new life. King’s new novel, Touchstone, is one of the best books of any kind published in 2007--a terrific combination and culmination of her work so far.
During her time at The Rap Sheet tomorrow, King will begin by offering her thoughts on the unexpected effects a writer can have on readers, and take off from there. You’re welcome to join in the fun, as the author says she will respond to at least some questions addressed to her in the Comments sections of her posts.

Stay tuned.

(Author photograph by Seth Affoumado.)

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