The first book in this series introduces us to a young girl of fifteen, Mary Russell, and follows her as she gets older, and becomes Sherlock Holmes apprentice and partner. It is written in three different parts, to allow us to follow her growing up- as she goes to university and becomes an adult. This book is branded as a pastiche, due to the inclusion of many canonical characters.
I enjoyed this book as I found that looking at Holmes after he had retired was interesting, especially with his interest in bees. When I picked up the book I originally thought he was no longer in contact with Dr Watson and Mrs Hudson, but I was wrong as Mrs Hudson is still his housekeeper in Sussex. The first 100 pages are slow, but as the book continued I found it much more exciting.
Mary and Holmes’ relationship starts with a father/daughter kind of relationship, but it does seem to turn into more than that at the end, especially when Mary is injured in the last chapter.
The cases are typical of Conan Doyle, as is the writing style, but I did like how Laurie. R. King broke the fourth wall, mentioning how Conan Doyle and Watson wrote stories of Holmes’ adventures. I’m not sure if the purpose of this was so the fans could relate, but I feel that I was in Mary’s shoes at that point. If I fell over Sherlock Holmes in the countryside, I’d want to try and outwit him too!
Yes, this book had it’s flaws. Many books do. Mary has some typical qualities of what is known as a ‘Mary Sue’ but I hope her character becomes much more likeable in the other books in series. Also, in my review I’ve tried not to explain the book in too much detail, because it is the sort of book you have to read for yourself in order to form and opinion. It’s a great book, and I enjoyed it- being a Holmes fan, I think it was a very well written, light hearted pastiche.
4/5 stars. 🙂