Dreaming Spies: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, by Laurie R. King, (Bantam), 352 pages, release date 17 February, 2015
If you haven’t read any of Laurie R. King’s Russell and Holmes novels, you need to get started. This series began well and has grown richer over time. King’s version of Holmes balances the distance of Conan Doyle’s original by pairing him with Mary Russell, a significantly younger scholar of theology and, as the series progresses, his wife. Russell reads Holmes well, which gives readers insight into his methods and moods without turning him into an inappropriately open character.
Russell and Holmes have traveled around the world on their cases: across the British Isles, to Palestine, to Portugal, and to San Francisco. Now, in Dreaming Spies, Russell and Holmes are returning from San Francisco on a steamer with ports of call in India and Japan. On ship, they meet Haruki Sato a gymnast/ninja/servant of the emperor who involves them in one of her cases.
What’s particularly fun about this book is that it offers a pair of closely related adventures, first in Japan, then in Oxford. We get to see Russell and Holmes mastering Japanese culture, then get to see Sato in their world. King keeps the plot twists going until the very end. Readers see parts of the path ahead of the detectives, but there are many bends in the road that can’t be looked beyond before they’re reached.
As long-time readers of this series know, once one enters the world of Russell and Holmes one is eager to return there again and again. These two brilliant, oddly gifted individuals are a delight to spend time with. If you’ve never met them, give yourself the pleasure of making their acquaintance. And if you have met them, well, you don’t need me to tell you how much you’ll enjoy their new adventure.