I came upon this book quite by chance. I was in the vacuum experienced after finishing a good book that leaves you wanting more, but there is not yet another in the series, when I was alerted that an author I follow had read a later book in this series. Intrigued, I downloaded the sample for this the first in the Sherlock Holmes / Mary Russell series and was quickly hooked. I laughed aloud before the end of the first chapter at the line “He said nothing. Very sarcastically.”

I have not read a book of this genre or style before (though I have read Conan-Doyle). Although an homage to Sherlock Holmes this is a book about Mary Russell, and therein lies its success in my opinion.

The book is written in the narrative of Mary (we are informed they are her memoirs and Laurie R. King merely the editor) who is just 15 in 1915 when we (and Holmes) meet her and I love the style and the way in which we, the reader, are directly addressed. It covers the beginnings of their relationship and Mary’s involvement in Holmes’ work over a period of approximately 4 years (her ‘apprenticeship’) and does so beautifully. The pace is just perfect and the author deals with the passing of long periods of time brilliantly.

I thoroughly enjoyed the formal style of writing, as befits Sherlock Holmes and the period in which the book is set, that the author balanced well to always keep accessible to the 21st Century reader without any effort. I am hoping to encourage a resurgence of the use of the word ‘happenstance’ and I actually learnt some new (technically old) words which I loved.

I am sure you have deduced I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is witty and intelligent and I am thrilled that there are a good number of books for me to move on to read in the series. Indeed, I shall be making a start on book #2 ‘A Monstrous Regiment of Women’ in just a few minutes…