Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dreaming Spies

Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell #13)
by Laurie R. King
Bantam Books, 2015. 331 pages. Mystery.

Mary Russell, back in Oxford after a long time away from her studies, is startled to find a young and injured Japanese woman in her rooms. But Haruki-san is not there for a social call; she has come to finish a case that started a year earlier, when Holmes and Russell are enlisted to help Haruki and her father, Sato, recover an item for the Prince Regent Hirohito. Haruki was pivotal in helping them acclimate to Japanese culture and succeed in their venture. Will the second half of their venture prove to be equally successful?

King has shown an amazing amount of forethought in her Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series by leaving holes in her narratives that she can later go back and flesh out in full-length stories. Thus, while the series does not move in a linear fashion, she is able to keep her characters at a regular and believable age. In this book, King has gone a step further: the first half of the book is set in the time between the books The Game and Locked Rooms, which received only a brief mention at the time; the second half of the adventure is set after the narrative in Garment of Shadows. (So don't try to read this one out of order!) The writing in this book was spectacular and the adventure really set the stage in pre-WWII Japan, introducing the world to the enigmatic young man would would one day become the Sun Emperor. This is a great addition to the series. I would consider this a mostly-clean read. There were just one or two instances of strong language, but nothing more.


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