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?