The Murder of Mary Russell: amuse bouche

Writing the cover copy for books–those snippets on the dust jackets–is a delicate art.  A bit of plot is great, but not just plot, and NEVER spoilers.  (Yes, I’ve had those.)  A hint about the characters: who they are, where they’re going, and perhaps a reminder of where they’ve been if the book is from a series.  The cover copy needs to give a suggestion of the book’s mood: thriller or comedy? literary or popcorn novel?

Cover copy is the amuse bouche, or mouth-entertainment, of the literary world.  It entices the taste buds, clears the palate of everything that’s come before, and restores the jaded appetite. In 300 words.

A book’s cover is meant to draw the eye of a person walking through a crowded bookstore (or its virtual equivalent).  The jacket copy–from the publisher’s point of view, anyway–is intended to make the person who casually picked it up WANT IT.

So, here’s the cover copy that will go onto the dust jacket of The Murder of Mary Russell:

Laurie R. King’s bestselling Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series weaves rich historical detail and provocative themes with intriguing characters and enthralling suspense. Russell and Holmes have become one of modern literature’s most beloved teams.

Does this adventure end it all?

Mary Russell is well used to dark secrets—her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond.

But what of the other person Mary Russell has opened her heart to, that third member of the Holmes household: Mrs Hudson? Russell has come to love—and trust—the long-time housekeeper like the mother she lost so long ago. Mrs Hudson, once the most long-suffering landlady in all of London, followed Holmes into his Sussex retirement back in 1903. Surely she had good reasons for that? Russell has never questioned why…until a man comes to the door one morning, claiming to be Mrs Hudson’s son.

What Samuel Hudson tells Russell shatters her childish faith. It cannot possibly be true, yet she believes him. She also believes his threats: both the gun in his hand, and the knowledge he holds.

In a devastating instant of choice, Russell declares her loyalty and love, and everything changes.

Blood on the floor, a token on the mantelpiece, the smell of gunshot in the air: all point directly at Clara Hudson—or rather, at Clarissa, the woman she was before Baker Street. The key to Russell’s sacrifice lies in Mrs Hudson’s past, and to uncover the crime, a frantic Sherlock Holmes must put aside his anguish and push deep into his housekeeper’s secrets, to a time before her disguise was assumed, before her crimes were buried away.

There is death here, and murder, and trust betrayed.

And nothing will ever be the same.

What do you think? Is your mouth watering yet?

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Pre-order a copy: signed from Bookshop Santa Cruz or Poisoned Pen Books; unsigned or ebook at BookshopB&N/Nook or Amazon/Kindle.

Comments

  1. Diane Hendricksen says:

    Wow! Wow! Wow! Talk about tantalizing! I am already champing at the bit to start reading.

  2. Ronda Scott-Marak says:

    You are a cryel woman, Laurie. I volunteer to proofread copy

  3. Elizabeth Copley says:

    Ohhhhh….you are good!!!

  4. Janis Harrison says:

    Oh, you are torturing me! Amuse bouche — pah! Vous me tantalise…

  5. Madonna Smith says:

    Oh. My. Yes. Cannot wait to read this one.

  6. My mouth has been watering since last March 20 when I ordered my copy! It’s a mark of my admiration for your work and your characters that I ordered it when I was “just” a title. Now if I can just stay alive until the release date …

  7. Yes, I definitely want this book! Can I have it now?

  8. Laura Stratton says:

    Oh My. It’s going to be a looong wait for The Murder of Mary Russell. Several members of the LRK Book Club on Goodreads said we wanted to know more about Mrs.Hudson but I’m not sure this is what I had in mind.
    I hope I can get lucky enough for an ARC ( please pretty please).
    And Don’t EVEN Think about following Margaret Maron’s lead. (PLEASE? ). I just don’t think I could handle it again.

  9. Laura Stratton says:

    Oh My. I’ve been waiting ever since I finished “Dreaming Spies” and then I pre-ordered TMOMR in March It’s going to be a looong wait for The Murder of Mary Russell. Several members of the LRK Book Club on Goodreads said we wanted to know more about Mrs.Hudson but I’m not sure this is what I had in mind.
    I hope I can get lucky enough for an ARC ( please pretty please).
    And Don’t EVEN Think about following Margaret Maron’s lead. (PLEASE? ). I just don’t think I could handle it again.

  10. I may have fainted.

  11. Susan Morrison says:

    Tantalizing!

  12. Elisa Nelson says:

    I’ve now finished drying my screen after licking saliva all over it and my keyboard should function in a day or so. I’ll just chew on my mouse until next April, or I get a new computer. Sigh. Patience is not my forte.

  13. I already preordered this. I can’t wait!

  14. Marilyn Poppe says:

    Oh, my! You are a cruel, cruel woman, Laurie R. King! Does anybody have some knockout drops that will work until April arrives? I preordered the book last spring but had no idea how much suffering would be involved before April comes.

  15. Il met l’eau à la bouche votre amuse-bouche!
    Merci 🙂

  16. Like all of your loyal readers, I agree that the amuse bouche is just perfect to wet the appetite. Something wonderful to read next spring. These books are worth waiting for. I would love it if you would write a few more Kate Martinelli books, as well.

  17. Here I am in Jevington, trying to absorb the Russell Holmes atmosphere and you spring this on us. Just yesterday I was in Alfiston at Much Ado About Books where the owner was telling me what a wonderful lady you are … I’ll bet he had not seen this yet. Walking to East Dean for more atmosphere this afternoon I was trying to puzzle out the possible meaning of the latest title to quiet my fears … all for naught. Oh well.

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