by Laurie R. King
This is the 2nd installment in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series (see below for related links). For simplicity's sake, I'm going to call them the MR/SH books, ok?
It is late 1920 and Russell has now known Holmes for about six years. She is approaching her 21st birthday and hence emancipation from her hated aunt. She is also preparing to present a paper at Oxford prior to the end of her studies there. Through her friendship and apprenticeship with Holmes, Russell has become quite adept at detective work and is coming in to her own in that arena.
Due to the variety of changes coming in her life Russell is in a bit of an upheaval and is often seeking solitude (in part to avoid some awkward feelings she has developed). On one of her walks she runs into an old friend, Veronica, who she hasn't seen in years. [Veronica's character was introduced in book 1.] It is apparent that Veronica is having difficulties of her own so Russell agrees to do what she can to help. The two begin spending time together and Veronica gets Russell involved with an organization known as "The Temple". And here is where things get interesting ...
One of the things I enjoy about the MR/SH books is the way King brings so much of "current events" into the stories. In this particular book, World War I has been over for a few years and there are changes in society as a result: women in the workforce (or who had been during the war), women wanting to do more meaningful work than staying at home, fewer men in general, shell-shocked soldiers, drug abuse, etc. All of these elements make their way into this book at various points.
This particular book is less about "cracking the case" and more about Russell's development and her partnership with Holmes. Although their relationship is central to all the books, it seemed more important than anything else in this one (in my opinion).
I quite enjoyed this book, getting back into MR/SH's world, experiencing the post-Great-War years, and seeing the changes in Russell since the first book. All in all, a great stop in my Month of Joyful Reading.
Thoughts anyone? Have you read it? Have I convinced you to? Speak up out there!
Other posts so far in my Month of Joyful Reading