Saturday, October 5, 2019

Book Review: The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King

The Language of Bees
Author: Laurie R. King
Series: Mary Russell (Book 9)
Publication: Bantam (April 28, 2009)

Description: For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad was especially sweet. There was even a mystery to solve—the unexplained disappearance of an entire colony of bees from one of Holmes’s beloved hives.

But the anticipated sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a galling memory from the past. Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, when the surrealist painter had been charged with—and exonerated from—murder. Now the troubled young man is enlisting the Holmeses’ help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child.

Mary has often observed that there are many kinds of madness, and before this case yields its shattering solution she’ll come into dangerous contact with a fair number of them. From suicides at Stonehenge to the dark secrets of a young woman’s past on the streets of Shanghai, Mary will find herself on the trail of a killer more dangerous than any she’s ever faced—a killer Sherlock Holmes himself may be protecting for reasons near and dear to his heart.

My Thoughts: Mary and Sherlock are just home from months abroad when Sherlock's son Damian Adler comes to ask for their help finding his missing wife and child. Sherlock wasn't aware of Damian's existence until 1919 when he and Mary worked to clear him of a murder charge.

Damian was a war hero, a drug addict, and a Bohemian painter. He greatly resented Holmes for his neglect and for his mother's unhappiness. He felt that Holmes should have know of his existence. As soon as he was cleared of the murder charge, he disappeared.

Now it is 1924 and Damian is back with his attitude toward Holmes pretty much unchanged. Adler and Holmes disappear to London to look for his family leaving Mary behind to work on the mystery of the hive of bees that had been abandoned. After a few days of working on that mystery, Mary decides to head to London to begin her own investigation.

Mary learns that Damian's wife Yolanda was fascinated by a wide variety of religions and belief systems. Mary discovers her relationship with the Children of Lights whose theology is a mash-up of many other beliefs including Norse mythology. She becomes convinced that their holy book is the work of a madman and she fears that Damian might be the author.

When Yolanda is found dead - murdered - at an ancient historical site, Mary and Sherlock begin looking at other odd events at historical sites to try to find out if her death was one in a pattern. Meanwhile, Holmes is looking for Damian who left him during their investigation.

This story was filled with great detail about the Bohemian movement and the art scene in London for those who were called Surrealists. I loved the descriptions of Damian's art work though I wouldn't want them in my living room any more than Mary did.

The tension builds as the story progresses until Mary is forced to fly from London to the Orkneys with a military pilot and through massively difficult weather to try to beat the villain to his final sacrificial site and save Damian and his daughter's lives. The descriptions made me feel that I was there along with Mary during that harrowing flight.

The only thing I didn't like about the story was the cliffhanger ending. I am very grateful that the next book is available for me and that I didn't have to wait a year for it.

Favorite Quote:
My own tradition of Judaism believes that there is nothing God loves more than a quick-witted argument; the words Millicent Dunworthy read were an excellent illustration of the need to teach Rabbinic debate in public schools.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I am reading this series and enjoy it, especially as they travel far and wide to solve mysteries (Japan, San Francisco, Jerusalem, etc.).


I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!