When she isn't solving mysteries with her old friend Sherlock Holmes, nineteen-year-old Mary Russell reads theology at Oxford, so there's no way she's going to pass up a chance to travel to the holy land of Palestine on a case. That isn't to say that she doesn't have reservations, though- besides the fact that she has no idea what she's supposed to be doing there, travelling about the Arab world with a group of men requires her to either dress as a man herself (punishable by death) or wear a burkah and act as a servant (which she absolutely refuses to do). She and Holmes are travelling through a dangerous land with two men, supposedly brothers (Holmes has his doubts) named Ali and Mahmoud, and they're less than forthcoming with information.
I read the first book in this series, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, at the recommendation of a friend, and I loved it. About a month ago I read the second book, but I haven't been able to track down the third or the fourth yet, so I decided to skip to the fifth. It was a bit of a jolt, and there's no question that it took me a few chapters to get used to the evolution of the characters.
While most mysteries are stand-alone, this series should definitely be read in order because the ever-changing dynamic between Russell and Holmes is such a big part of the appeal.