When I saw DREAMING SPIES come up on Net Galley, I thought it looked like something I’d enjoy: Sherlock Holmes and his wife, Mary Russell, solving mysteries. I am not sure how I’ve missed this series as I’m a HUGE Holmes fan. Of course just about everyone is a fan of the new series with Benedict, and I enjoy it, but I’m a Holmes fan from way back. I’ve read all Conan Doyle’s stories numerous times (there aren’t a ton) and I love love loved the PBS series with Jeremy Brett. He was just the perfect Holmes to me. So what fun to find a whole series of stories that are about Holmes and his wife — who is obviously created for this series if you know Holmes – the intelligent and intrepid Mary Russell.
In this story, the time line moves back and forth, from a mystery worked on a few years earlier in Japan to the present (1920’s) in Oxford, England. Holmes and Russell were traveling aboard a cruise ship to Japan when they met a pleasant young woman, Sato, who offers to help educate the crew in the culture and manners of Japan. It turns out that she is a ninja, from a family of ninjas, and she needs their help. A book was given by their Emperor to the King of England as a gift, but it has something tucked inside it which must not be seen. Now the Emperor is being blackmailed in order for him to get the book back.
The storyline takes place in basically three locales: aboard the ship, in Japan, back in England. Ms. King has filled her novel with interesting details about life and the culture in Japan in the 1920’s. Having just taken a cruise last summer, I found the cruise ship part interesting, though I think our Disney Magic was more comfortable than Holmes’ and Russell’s ship!
I have to be honest, I did fear that I would start to read this book and Holmes would not seem like Holmes to me; or Mary would seem anachronistic, or something else would happen that would make me feel it was an absurd attempt to incorporate this iconic character into something new (remember I didn’t read the whole series or even know about it until afterwards). I was not disappointed. Holmes behaved just like Holmes should. Mary is front and center, but that is no surprise as this is somewhat her series. Stylistically, the writing was what I would expect from a classic British mystery. All in all, I just loved it!
For a few more days, I’m running a giveaway:
You can see this book at an indie near you — check out the whole series! (I am an indie bound affiliate) and thank you, Net Galley, for my ARC!:
Find it at an Indie!