Short story theologian

We’ve put up two new things into the LRK electrical world, both having to do with a weeklong Writer in Residence I did some years ago at Hanover College, Indiana.

The first is a lengthy meditation on how the concept of “vocation” appears in my novels, written by Hanover professor Michael Duffy. It carries the somewhat grandiose title of “Guidance for Authentic Living in the Mystery Novels of Laurie R. King.” (It’s free on the site, although if you like it, you might send Hanover a donation.)Vocation cover

The second is a new e-short story based on the talk I gave while at Hanover, a Midrash (or, retelling) based on Judges 11.  Mila's Tale cover5-2_arm_right

“Jephtha’s Daughter” is one of those problematic Biblical passages that just beg to be wrestled with, and I chose to do so in the manner of the rabbis, reshaping the given text into a story that both is and is not the same.  And because I believe that the tools of understanding should be wielded by all, I include both remarks on the theological questions raised by the story, and suggestions for further reading.

LRK, Talmudist

LRK, Talmudist?

“Mila’s Tale” is not a crime story, although there is a criminal act at its core. Neither is it a mystery, although perhaps of the higher sort. It is the first of what I propose to form into a collection called Ladies of Spirit, stories and their commentaries based on a variety of sources from the world’s religions.

“Mila’s Tale” is available on Kindle, Nook, and all the other formats, here.


  1. Laurie King on July 23, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Nook hasn’t put the story up yet, but until they do, you can get it for your Nook reader as an “epub” on the general Smashwords page.

  2. Kym Lindsey on July 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    How coincidental — am reading a volume of letters by Dorothy L. Sayers; a repeating theme is that of “work,” “vocation,” and the doctrine of the Trinity. Looking forward to reading your take on the matter. Thank you.

  3. Lori Sumner on July 25, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Hi, I just came across National Geographic’s Found collection, of never before seen photographs. There is a lovely color photo of a mosque in Palestine in 1926, and I can just imagine Mary Russell walking through it.

    Eagerly awaiting your next installment in 2015, vut I do have a question: will there be a follow up to Garment of Shadows? It seems to me there are a few threads dangling- amnesia and Mycroft. There are certainly many events for them to get involved in closer to home, such as the whole Communist movement in Europe (Sorry, have veen doing some intelligence and history studies.)

    All that to say, favulous work and please keep ot up!

    • Laurie King on July 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Hi Lori, yes, Dreaming Spies picks up a few months after Garment of Shadows, although loose ends are not really addressed here. Next time, methinks…

  4. William R Edwards on July 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I very much liked the story as a work of fiction and a take off on the Judges tale. But I must say that I doubt that these “midrashes” have much to do with the original story as those who first told it, wrote it down, and included it in their holy scriptures understood it. Isn’t it at least highly likely that their point was
    , “Here is a holy man who keeps his oath toYaweh even at the cost of killing his beloved, innocent daughter, and and a holy woman who submits willingly to slaughter. Be like them and Yaweh will be pleased!” Exactly the ideal of the Abraham and Issac story, except no last minute intervention. Hardly surprising that the rabbis of later years tied themselves in intellectual knots to find alternate understandings, but how convincing are they? Isn’t it reasonably clear, regardless of niceties of linguistics and history, that the god(s) of all the “Abrahmic” religions are devils made by men from their own fear and cruelty? See the latest evidence on the evening news.

  5. Perry Lassiter on August 4, 2014 at 11:49 am

    You may cover this in your midrash, which I intend to read but have not as yet. Some scholars riff off the comment “bewail my virginity” as meaning the sacrifice was of not marrying rather than death. At any rate, one must judge by the standards of the times, not current first world values. For example, those who accuse Mohammen of raping children by taking a child bride do not take into account this was a common practice in his time and place.

    • Laurie King on August 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Yes, of many puzzles here: death as Jephtha had vowed, or some commotion with the region’s fertility rituals? And yes, my husband’s grandmother was married at age 13. Not what I would wish for a child of that age, but far from unusual throughout history.

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