Literary Insights

Literary Insights: A Book Lovers Review

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dreaming Spies by Laurie R King

            Laurie R. King’s New York Times bestselling novels of suspense featuring, Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, are critically acclaimed and beloved by readers for the author’s adept interplay of history and adventure. Now the intrepid duo is finally trying to take a little time for themselves, only to be swept up in a baffling case that will lead them from the idyllic panoramas of Japan to the depths of Oxford’s most revered institution.
            After a lengthy case that had the couple traipsing all over India, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are on their way to California to deal with some family business that Russell has been neglecting for far too long. Along the way, they plan to break up the long voyage with a sojourn in southern Japan. The cruising steamer Thomas Carlyle is leaving Bombay, bound for Kobe. Though they’re not the vacationing types, Russell is looking forward to a change of focus; not to mention a chance to travel to a location Holmes has not visited before. The idea of the pair being on equal footing is enticing to a woman who often must race to catch up with her older, highly skilled husband.
            Aboard the ship, intrigue stirs almost immediately. Holmes recognizes the famous clubman the Earl of Darley, whom he suspects of being an occasional blackmailer: not an unlikely career choice for a man richer in social connections than in pounds sterling. Then there’s the lithe, surprisingly fluent young Japanese woman who befriends Russell and quotes haiku. She agrees to tutor the couple in Japanese language and customs, but Russell can’t shake the feeling that Haruki Sato is not who she claims to be.
            Once in Japan, Russell’s suspicions are confirmed in a most surprising way. From the glorious city of Tokyo to the cavernous library at Oxford, Russell and Holmes race to solve a mystery involving international extortion, espionage, and the shocking secrets that, if revealed, could spark revolution, and topple an empire.
           Dreaming Spies immerses Russell, Holmes, and the reader in the country and culture of early twentieth century Japan and involves ninjas, blackmail, the international travel set, the Japanese heir to the throne, the deceptively demure daughter of a Japanese acrobat, and Holmes and Russell posing as both religious pilgrims and high society aristocrats. With intriguing characters, a fascinating setting, a complex mystery, and haikus scattered throughout the text.
            I agree with The Washington Post Book World when they praised the award-winning novels of Laurie R. King “The great marvel of King’s series is that she’s managed to preserve the integrity of Holmes’s character and yet somehow conjure up a woman astute, edgy, and compelling enough to be the partner of his mind as well as his heart.”
            This is the first book by this author I have read. I was not disappointed and plan on checking out her other stories. I love Sherlock Holmes I have been reading these stories of the famous detective since I was a child. I adore the PBS series of Sherlock Holmes, but it  has been a  long time since I have read a Sherlock book. I didn’t even know about this series until I had the chance to read this book. The prose is beautifully descriptive and informative. I just loved this book and all its wanderings. I can’t wait to learn more about this unusual and talented couple and to catch up on their adventures.
Dreaming Spies is very entertaining and a fine entry in this engaging series. I highly recommend this book. I received digital copy from Bantam Books/Random House via Net Galley for my review.

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