Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King
The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King is a mystery novel based on her character Mary Russell who happens to be married to Sherlock Holmes. I picked up this book because the idea sounds intriguing to me-Sherlock Holmes married? How's that work? But with also a healthy dose of skepticism as to whether or not a married Sherlock Holmes, or his wife for that matter, would work in comparison to Conan Doyle's character. This individual novel did not answer all my curiosity but gave interesting glimpses into such an unusual marriage.
Although the novel does have Sherlock Holmes as a character he is not the main character and can be removed directly from the storyline for chapters at a time. That being said, I found Mary Russell to be a remarkably likable character. I usually have a bias towards female detectives as they always come off as trying too hard, or uppity, by Mary had the right amount of smarts, gumption, and realism that it was easy to get hooked into the story and follow Mary as she does a lot of the legwork in helping Holmes solve the case. This is the first book I've read by Laurie R. King and her writing is succinct, which makes for good detective fiction, but also attentive to the historical context of Mary and Holmes which adds depth to the story. The Language of Bees is the ninth in a series of eleven books featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, but standing by itself it holds up as a entertaining detective novel while inviting the reader to enjoy the rest of the series.