Laurie R. King’s most recent entry in her Russell and Holmes series continues to develop their relationship and gives readers a glimpse of yet another land and its culture. This adventure centers around Japan in the time of Prince Hirohito, regent for his father. The prince had given a gift to the king of England without knowing its true value to his country. Russell and Holmes are drawn into the plot when a blackmailer writes to exchange the gift for money. They must not only discover the blackmailer’s identity but find and recover the gift before its loss is discovered in Japan.
The character of Holmes in this series is true to Doyle’s creation, given the introduction of King’s character of Mary Russell. The interactions between the two play out in a realistic manner, and alternating viewpoints of the action give the reader insight to the thought processes of both. The culture and landscape of Japan is described as they were in the time of the story, and the reader learns something of these as Holmes and Russell make their way through the countryside to prove their abilities to the prince.
Mary Cresson, Librarian (Ret.)