Every time I read one of Laurie King's books, I'm reminded anew of how good and deliciously subtle her writing is. This is one author that every aspiring author should read about a dozen times, just to be watch the master at work.
For example: LOCKED ROOMS, what I'm reading now, page 85 in the hardcover, a Chinese man says' "I have to say, Miss Russell, that your display of English--do they call it 'phlegm'? is most impressive."
Well, that doesn't make much sense does it? But woe to the reader who thinks Miss King has gone off the rails. No no.
A mere nine paragraphs later, Mary Russell, in whose POV this chapter is told thinks "I might have returned his earlier question aimed at me, for his own demonstration of phlegmatic behaviour..."
the classic example of show, not tell. There's nothing in the narrative other than the correct use of a word, but it give us everything we need to know. This is the apex of elegant writing.
And that's just one example. She builds this elegant novel with elegant bricks, one by one. And the mortar ain't too shabby neither.
A piece of advice I give often is to closely study a book you admire. Watch what the author does. Laurie King would be a good choice for that.