Another solid book in this series!
This story is refreshingly similar in tone to the first one or two Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes books. The playful intellectual bantering that drew me to the relationship at the outset still isn't quite there like it was (the author doesn't seem interested in investing much in this aspect of the stories), but their bond here seems somewhat more convincing to me than it has for a while. The sequences (England-Japan-England) are beautifully handled, and the threads are masterfully woven together at the end. I enjoyed meeting Haruki, and I hope Mary and Sherlock will team up with her again.
Outstanding addition to the series.
Have read most of the series. Loved this one. Russell and Holmes in Japan and ninjas!
I am so thankful that instead of spending a third of the book going back over previous installments, King used footnotes so that new to the series people know what books to go back to, and she didn't bore me to tears with rehash. This is non-stop action and investigation and intrigue. This segment of the saga is set in a "now" then switches to the formerly skipped over visit to Japan, then comes back to the now. The transition is fluid and nearly seamless. As always Russell and Holmes get roped into an case that is more trouble, pain, and annoyance than adventure. King has a wonderful take on Japan during the period between the wars, and a deep respect for the culture (as she has with all previous cultures she has presented). I'm a faithful Laurie R. King fan.
This is not the book to reading start the Mary Russell series. It's definitely a series that you need some background to understand Mary Russell's marriage to Sherlock Holmes. As she says in this book she married the older Holmes for adventure. It's a marriage that abounds in this. In mostly flash backs she tells the story of time spent in Japan, her friendship with a real ninja and how she helps retrieve a valuable book for the emperor of Japan, Hirohito. Although I knew from almost the beginning who the real blackmailer was, there are plenty of red herring. And unlike some books when I' expectations solved the meaning early, there's enough action a travel dialogue about Japan to keep me up till 1am to reach the satisfying end. One of the things I like about the Mary Russell series is her relationship to Holmes. I've always considered Holmes pompous and conceited. Mary manages to remain his intellectual, independent partner.
As Holmes puts it, there are no coincidences. This book has way too many of them, though, as he and Mary go home from India via Japan. On board ship, they meet a blackmailer from Holmes ' past, and a cultured Japanese woman who's all but stalking them--to what purpose? They follow her lead, and danger and adventure, as usual, follow. This series has not lost its edge. Haruki San may be, in one sense, the villain of the piece, but she's an honest, likable woman who uses her brilliant mind to protect her emperor and her country. Unlike the real villains, who Russell and Holmes do their best to foil. But this is mostly Russell's story.
I have enjoyed the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series very much, though some books are more enjoyable than others. This is one of my favorites. I enjoyed learning about Japan and Japanese culture along with Mary, and the plot was clever and kept me guessing. The book is also designed beautifully, with Japanese and Arts and Crafts references,
I liked this book. It's the first Laurie King I have read.The title and the setting drew me into the web of intrigue and mystery where everything is not as it seems. Well researched, informative and amusingly written from another angle of the Sherlock Holmes genre.It would make a very good film. The cover is a delight. Very restrained and Japanese.
She is back to more of a good old-fashioned whodunit rather than some religious research based story obviously dear to the author's heart
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