The Language of Bees
Laurie R. King
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In the latest installment of the Holmes and Russell series, The Language of Bees the bees Holmes is raising in Sussex serve as both metaphor and counterpoint to the action-packed mystery. One of his hives is swarming, something bees apparently do when they suspect their keeper is not returning, and Mary is left alone with that problem, as Holmes as followed their latest client into London.
The nature of this story makes it impossible to review without minor spoilers. The client is question Holmes’ son, we are told, from an affair he had with Irene Adler during the years in which he was supposed to be dead. The mystery: the location of this grown son’s wife and small daughter.
Obviously there are tramps across wet moors, nights spent in boltholes with amenities (or a lack thereof) that are a far cry from the scale of a Riviera hotel – in fact, over the entire series both Holmes and Mary Russell have spent an inordinate amount of time being wet, dirty, cold, or hungry – conditions I normally object to reading about, but don’t mind in these stories in the slightest.
There is also familial angst (what if Holmes’ son murdered is family, what if Holmes’ loyalty is to the son he barely knows rather than Mary?) and a wild aeroplane flight to enhance the mystery.
Sadly, while the mystery is solved, at the end of the novel we are confronted with three words that the author says were meant to offer hope of another story, but which I always find frustrating: To be continued.
Goes well with hot tea and scones or crumpets followed by a hot bubble bath.