The Art of Detection (2006)

Winner of the Lambda Awardcover_art_deception_homepbk1cover_art_deception_uk1

“King’s two series had already been drawing closer together in Locked Rooms (2005), which sent Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell to San Francisco. Now, Detective Kate Martinelli, SFPD (Night Work, 2000, etc.) meets Holmes, or at least a bunch of Holmesians….
“Unimpressed by the shadow of Holmes and originally skeptical about the manuscript [owned by the victim, Philip Gilbert], Kate changes her mind when she reads it. The embedded adventure, nearly 100 pages long,
recounts the arrival of ‘Mr. Sigerson’ (one of Holmes’s trademark pseudonyms) in San Francisco; his commission by a transvestite chanteuse to find her, or his, missing swain; and his discovery of the young man’s body in the exact place Gilbert’s own corpse would turn up 80 years later.” (from the Kirkus review)

Read an excerpt from The Art of Detection.

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Bookshop Santa Cruz (ask for a signed copy!)

What they say

Sometimes a mystery takes one’s breath away with its impeccable, inexorable logic. King makes two such tales here, whose wheels interlock with a perfect, audible click. Kate Martinelli, homicide detective in San Francisco, catches a murder case in which the corpse has been found on the Marin headlands in Battery DuMaurier, an artillery site, now long out of use, constructed in the nineteenth century to guard San Francisco Bay. The victim is Philip Gilbert, a gentleman who had turned the first floor of his home into a perfect replica of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street. Kate’s involvement in the case is further tangled when a typescript turns up in Gilbert’s possession telling the tale (recounted in a voice sounding very much like Holmes himself) of a 1924 transvestite and her military lover, whose corpse was also found in Battery DuMaurier…. There’s also the opportunity to explore every facet of Holmes fandom, from the sublime and scholarly to the deliriously ridiculous. A tour-de-force and a great read.


Bestseller King (The Game) meshes her two best-known series–contemporary police procedurals set in San Francisco featuring Kate Martinelli of the SFPD and the period stories of Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes—to create an intelligent, satisfying novel of suspense. Martinelli is investigating the death of Philip Gilbert, an obsessive, avid Holmes collector (he’s even transformed his San Francisco house into a replica of 221B Baker Street), when she discovers what could be the motive: a previously unpublished story from Arthur Conan Doyle, told from Holmes’s point of view, a find that could be worth millions. The present-day narrative is interspersed with the purported Conan Doyle story, which resonates with the account of Martinelli’s own domestic live. A fine, perceptive storyteller, King is particularly adroit at capturing the milieus in which her characters reside. Fans of both series will be well rewarded.         — Publishers Weekly


Listen to an interview with LRK by Kacey Kowers.

Read Laurie’s thoughts on writing The Art of Detection on her blog.

What was happening in San Francisco in 1924?

…and in the gay community of the Twenties?

Sherlock Holmes:

See the LRK on: Sherlock Holmes page.

For everything Holmesian, including the Conan Doyle stories, consult Michael Sherman or Chris Redmond, or Sherlockian societies such as Philip Gilbert’s Strand Diners

Find out more about Arthur Conan Doyle

San Francisco, then and now:
San Francisco, 1924: The San Francisco Museum and the California Historical Society where you will find great photographs

For a tour and links to live cameras

And for Gay San Francisco, then AND now

The Marin Headlands fortifications:

The GGNRA today

A virtual tour

A general history of the headlands

Fort Barry

Battery Mendell

Battery Wallace

And for the academically minded: A History of Seacoast Fortifications in the San Francisco Bay

And a description of seacoast fortifications



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