Sunday, September 8, 2019

Book Review: The Moor by Laurie R. King

The Moor
Author: Laurie R. King
Series: Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes (Book 4)
Publication: Picador; 1st edition (October 30, 2007)

Description: In the eerie wasteland of Dartmoor, Sherlock Holmes summons his devoted wife and partner, Mary Russell, from her studies at Oxford to aid the investigation of a death and some disturbing phenomena of a decidedly supernatural origin. Through the mists of the moor there have been sightings of a spectral coach made of bones carrying a woman long-ago accused of murdering her husband--and of a hound with a single glowing eye. Returning to the scene of one of his most celebrated cases, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Holmes and Russell investigate a mystery darker and more unforgiving than the moors themselves, in Laurie R. King's The Moor.

My Thoughts: Mary is called from her studies in Oxford to join her husband Sherlock Holmes on Dartmoor. At first resentful, Mary soon becomes interested in investigating the death of an itinerant tin miner and rumors of a ghostly carriage and a hound with a single glowing eye. They are staying at the home of the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould who is a long-time friend of Sherlock's. Baring-Gould is nearly ninety and dying but he is still a force to be reckoned with on the moor. He is the author of more than 150 books on a wide variety of topics (and Mary reads quite a number of them while in his home). He's most famous for collecting the traditional songs of Dartmoor and trying to preserve the culture that he fears will be lost when communication gets easier.

Dartmoor is the scene of one of Sherlock's most famous cases - The Hound of the Baskervilles -- and Baskerville Hall and its new owner American Richard Ketteridge play an important part in this story. I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of the land and the people of Dartmoor as Mary came to appreciate the stark beauty of the land. Even without the supernatural creatures who are supposed to inhabit the land, the fogs and marshes provide enough danger for any traveler. Add in the British military using part of the moor to test artillery and test out a new sort of tank and you have a dangerous place to spend time.

This was an excellent episode in this series. I liked seeing how Mary and Holmes are getting along after two years of marriage.

Favorite Quote:
As I struggled in Holmes' wake. barely conscious of the vegetation and the people and the rich odours of dung and grass and rotting leaves, I reflected that I had been wet, bedraggled, and exhausted before -- generally in Holmes' company -- and in two years of marriage to the man I had come to accept this as a sommon state of affairs. I should have been somewhat happier about it if only he, too, might show the same results, but Holmes had always possessed the extraordinary ability to avoid grime. Given two puddles, identical on the surface, Holmes would invariably choose the one with the shallow, neatly gravelled bottom, whereas I, just as invariably, would put my foot into the other and be in muck past the ankle. Or go over a wall fleeing from a herd of horned Scottish cows and land respectively on green turf and churned up mud. 
I bought and read this one sometime before February 2008 and just bought a Kindle copy for rereading. You can buy your copy here.

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