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Jessica Hale

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The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09)
The Language of Bees (Mary Russell Mystery 09)
by Laurie R. King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars At last, an answer to a tantalising clue..., 31 July 2011
Ever since I read A Monstrous Regiment of Women, I've wondered about a throwaway line - (paraphrasing) when Holmes and Russell are discussing helping a young man with a drug problem, and she cuttingly asks him, Wouldn't he want someone to help him, if he were Holmes' son? And that this is cruel, because Holmes did have a son, and someone did try.

I thought at first I had missed something from canon, that this line was included so casually and never brought up again. At last, in "The Language of Bees" we get an answer - and how!

The mystery in this book is personal for Holmes in a way that we haven't seen before, and it offers new scope for the characters. I quite like the portrayal of Mary as "my father's wife". Another thing I enjoyed was the description of the Orkney Islands, and the stone circles there - I thought it all very beautiful, and now want a visit. Of course, I hope to have an easier trip there than Mary...

Mycroft features increasingly prominently in this book, setting up the plot of God of the Hive.

I liked Mary's detective skills in this book - she seems to be acting, rather than reacting, and is in position to view the whole affair more rationally than Holmes, which is a good contrast to Locked Rooms.

A must-read for any fan of the series, and I could even tentatively recommend it for new readers of the series, being set back in England, on "home soil" after some novels of travel, and others referring back to earlier characters. However, this book is very much the first part of a two-part story - I recommend that the reader has the next book, God of the Hive, close to hand and ready to go when they finish this novel!


God of the Hive, The (Mary Russell Mystery 10)
God of the Hive, The (Mary Russell Mystery 10)
by Laurie R. King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent adventure, 31 July 2011
This book rounds off the story started in "The Language of Bees". I was glad I'd bought them both together, since I suspect I would have been very frustrated had I bought just the first, since it is very much a two-part story.

This book shows Russell and Holmes coming back together after being separated at the end of "The Language of Bees". There are, of course, airplane crashes, murder attempts, disguises, hidden messages and chases through the back streets of London first! I enjoyed spending more time with characters introduced in the first book - the pilot Javitz, Damien, and the charmingly precocious (maybe too much so?) Estrella. A new character is Robert Goodman - I found parts of his story a little thin, like he could have had his own book, but he was an enjoyable character to spend time with.

The one part of this book I didn't enjoy so much was the ending - it felt a little rushed, and since the Baddie from the first book is dispatched without much fanfare without another confrontation with our heroes, I would have liked a more well-rounded, satisfying, ending to this book. However, I can't say that it didn't tidy up most of the loose ends and laid a few tantalising clues for future plots without making me feel it was just setting up for another sequel. That is to say, this book concludes the story from "The Language of Bees", and sits well as a book in a series without feeling that the story is being left abruptly.

That being said, I do hope that the next book in the series allows us to spend some more time with Holmes and Russell together - I don't always feel that they're working in tandem in their partnership, let alone as a married couple. I want domesticity. Just a little bit, before the next mystery comes along!

A must-buy for any fans of the Mary Russell series, although I couldn't recommend this novel as a starting point for a new reader.


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