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The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King

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God of the Hive by Laurie R. King

There are some mystery novels that, although written in a series, do not need to be read in order. The God of the Hive is not one of them. The latest installment in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series has the reader hit the ground running – as if it were simply the next chapter in the previous book in the series, The Language of Bees.

It is August 1924 and Mary Russell is struggling, carrying a child through the forest. A child she met only 2 hours earlier, Estelle Adler, the grand-daughter of Sherlock Holmes. They are on the run from a very bad man who in the previous novel murdered Estelle’s mother and is now searching for the child and her father, Damian.

Russell and Holmes are separated for most of this novel, Russell caring for Estelle while Holmes cares for Damian. Russell in England and Holmes on the continent. Mary Russell is assisted by Robert Goodman, a man who finds her in the woods and takes her into his home. Mary knows that Robert’s has his own story is another mystery - about how he came to live in the woods, so apart from society. But Robert cares for them well and Mary comes to trust him completely, as she must in order to protect Estelle.

Holmes meanwhile has the injured and traumatized Damian to care for – on the run from Scotland Yard. There is an arrest warrant out for Damian, who they believe has murdered his wife.

Meanwhile, Sherlock Holmes’ brother, Mycroft, appears to be imprisoned somewhere in London. Mycroft has long held a rather unusual position in the British Secret Service, reporting only to the King, but there appears to be a traitor in the ranks who is determined to eliminate the mighty Mycroft.

There are all the usual Sherlock Holmes treats, messages left in the agony column in the Times, bolt holes across London that are safe havens and a source of supply for fresh clothes and disguises. There is trickery and danger at every turn, countered by assistance from former “irregulars” and other friends from the past. All in all it is just a pleasure to disappear into the suspenseful, fast paced life of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes for the time it takes to read The God of the Hive.

Laurie R. King has created a great series of books about Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. She has managed to stay true to the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and yet bring Holmes into another life that includes a partner who is every bit his equal in intelligence and sensitivity. Start with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and you’ll not stop until the end of The God of the Hive.

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