Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book review: Dreaming Spies - Laurie R King

Title: Dreaming Spies

Author: Laurie R King


Genre: Thriller

Ranking: 6.5 out of 10.0

Buy: Maybe

Borrow: Yes

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Spies-suspense-featuring-Sherlock/dp/0345531795

Summary:  Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes embark on a very long sea voyage to Japan, en route to California.  On board they meet all sorts of interesting people including a lady ninja (which - by the way - means a spy and not an assassin) and Lord and Lady Darley and his son Thomas.  Holmes suspects Darley is a blackmailer and this story entails him trying to blackmail the Crown Prince of Japan, who has assigned - not surprisingly - the ninja to recruit Holmes and Russell in foiling this dastardly plot.

Main review: 

After a lengthy case that had Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes roaming all over India, they 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 the long voyage with a sojourn in southern Japan. The cruising steamer Thomas Carlyle leaves Bombay for Kobe. Russell is looking forward to a change of focus—not to mention a chance to travel to a location Holmes has not visited before. 

Aboard the ship, intrigue stirs almost immediately. Holmes recognizes the famous Earl of Darley, whom he suspects of being a blackmailer. And 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.

Once in Japan, Russell’s suspicions that all is not what appears on the surface is proven to be correct. From the glorious city of Tokyo to the cavernous Bodleian 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, with the Darleys on one side and the Crown Prince of Japan on the other.
I have enjoyed all of Laurie's books on Mary Russell and this is no different.  However, I found the first third on the long sea voyage slightly slow and tedious.  There are all sorts of diversions, only some of which are germane to the main plot. But the rest of the book is set at her normal pace with the usual twists and turns and compensates for the slow first third.
Further reading suggestion: The Beekeeper's Apprentice - https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250055709/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1535524082&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0345531795&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=D520X6K5SZ4K6FQNE9G5

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