The Moor (1998)

A New York Times choice for best summer reading mysteries.


9780749015152 the moorThe wind had calmed considerably, but when I thought I heard a faint cracking noise from the vast space before me, I could not be certain. I shone my light desperately all around, found a rise, followed it, stood on my toes on a boulder, and saw a light, one single light. It was not moving.

I ran. Oblivious of streams and stones and the hellish waterlogged dips and gouges of an old peat works, I ran, up to a rise and down the other side and splashed three steps into the bog that stretched out there before my interior alarm sounded. I backed out laboriously, the muck holding fast at my boots and calves and only letting go with a slow sucking noise. I staggered when my heels hit solid ground and I sat down hard, then got to my feet and searched the basin. Rushes, Holmes had said, look for footing among the rushes, and indeed, along the edges of the bog stood tussocks of thick grass in a rough semicircle. Following those proved heavy going, but I did not sink in past my lower bootlaces, and I made the other side of the mire with no further harm. Up that hill I went, and there below me, perhaps a quarter of a mile away, lay the beam of a single torch, lying, by the looks of it, on the ground, motionless.

To Buy a Copy

Bookshop Santa Cruz (ask for a signed copy!)

What they say

The dark, foreboding Devonshire moors form a perfect backdrop for this mesmerizing tale. Add King’s devilishly clever plot and eccentric characters, her ability to achieve a perfect balance between serious mystery and lighthearted humor, and the charm with which she develops the captivating relationship between Holmes and Russell, and the result is a superbly rich read that would please Doyle himself. (Booklist)

The real stars here are cranky real-life savant [Reverend Sabine] Baring-Gould (grandfather of Holmes “biographer” W.S.Baring-Gould) and the moor itself, evoked in fabulously atmospheric terms. (Kirkus, starred review)


Read Laurie’s thoughts on writing The Moor on her blog, Mutterings.

Read an excerpt from The Moor here.

For a timeline and various links, go to Mary Russell’s World

Here is a review of The Moor by the Sabine Baring-Gould Appreciation Society

And here is Martin Graebe on Sabine Baring Gould

For a mind-boggling 360 degree tour of the Lew Trenchard manor dining room (looking far warmer than when Mary huddled there)

Download The Moor‘s reading group guide.

Visit Laurie’s reader’s corner.

LRK’s essay on “Sherlock Holmes and Sabine Baring-Gould” is included in the ebook Laurie R. King’s Sherlock Holmes.


Investigatio: A Virtue from the Lew Trenchard sitting room


Lew Trenchard Manor


A Dartmoor Pony


A cross on Dartmoor