For those who worried that Laurie King was losing her touch, and that the once-sparkling partnership of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes was in danger of becoming dull, worry no more. THE MOOR, despite its superficially derivative premise, is a fresh, original, and thoroughly engaging mystery featuring Russell and Holmes at their intellectual and investigative best. King has done her homework here and it shows -- she not only shows the reader the brooding vistas of Dartmoor, she transports them there.
Also not to be missed is the eccentric, prickly, but always fascinating character of the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, a real individual in more ways than one. Again King's scrupulous research comes into play here, as she weaves fact and fiction into a seamless whole.
Many of King's former weaknesses in crafting a mystery -- such as failing to introduce us to the villain until the very end of the story -- have been diligently amended here; and, as always, there are enough tips of the hat to (and, occasionally, sly but affectionate pokes at) the Conan-Doyle "canon" to tickle the fancy of Sherlockians. Holmes is at his ascerbic, brilliant best, and Russell shows a human, fallible side that makes her all the more likeable in the end.
This is, in my opinion, the best Russell book since THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE, and more than worth the price of admission.