©2009 Laurie R. King; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"A one-woman case for the defense of unauthorized literary sequels...intelligent, witty, complex and atmospheric." (Washington Post Book World)
"Along the way, we are treated to a great deal about ancient sites in England; a major supporting role from Holmes' brother, Mycroft; information on an occult set of beliefs possibly related to Aleister Crowley; a terrifying set piece on the horrors of early air travel; and discourse on the queasy pleasures of surrealist art - all in Mary Russell's wry, brilliant, and occasionally utterly deluded voice." (Booklist)
Be forewarned: This ends with "to be continued." Many of the threads of the plot are left tangled at the end. The other Mary Russell novels have been self-contained. I was disappointed this is not. And, frankly, this book is not up to the quality of King's previous efforts. She may have "jumped the shark" with this book about Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes. I did not really believe the characters would act as they do in this book on many levels.
Several years ago, I discovered The Beekeeper's Apprentice and voraciously listened to the first 8 Mary Russell books in quick succession, but gradually lost interest with the increasing theological ruminations and weird religious sects. Still, I felt that I had to finish the entire series and soldiered on. After a break of a few years, I picked up again with The Language of Bees and I have to say that I am SO disappointed and can barely remember why I enjoyed the first few in the series so much. In The Language of Bees, both the writing AND the reading of is unbearably slow and I find my mind continually wandering. Thank goodness my car player has a Fast setting so I can listen to it at a near-normal conversational tempo!
You have to endure an awful lot of non-mystery padding (a couple of hours describing travel, for instance) in order to reach the 'to be continued' at the end. While it's not a bad story, I'm not fond of what the Mary Russell series does to my impression of Sherlock Holmes. The biggest problem, though, is the continued ending. There's a perfect opportunity to wrap the story neatly at the end, but I can't help feel like they want some more of my money. I won't be joining them for the remainder.
It's bad fan fuction. I'm getting from the other reviews that this is not the best book of the series to start out with and maybe I'd have more apreciation for the relationship of senior Sherlock and his child bride if I'd read the others... But Holmes's child bride helping him find his previously unknown granddaughter? That's the stuff of bad fan fiction. It may be "to be continued" but I won't be continuing.
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