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The Language of Bees    by Laurie R. King order for
Language of Bees
by Laurie R. King
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

After a four year absence, Laurie R. King's highly acclaimed mystery series featuring Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes makes a return in The Language of Bees. When the action begins, Mary and her husband are confronted by a series of problems: Holmes' apiary is in desperate straits; problems threaten the peace and quite near their Sussex home; and they receive a surprise visit from someone from Holmes' distant past, Damian Adler.

With respect to the last, if the name Damian Adler sounds somewhat familiar to fans of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, perhaps it is because of Damian's connections with the famous Irene Adler. And as fans of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories know, A Scandal in Bohemia was the early tale in which Sherlock Holmes was fetchingly outsmarted by the beautiful and seductive Miss Adler.

Going beyond the famous Doyle story, though, Laurie R. King constructs a brief flashback in this novel in which readers learn about an ill-fated romance for a younger Holmes, and it was during that period of the sleuth's life that Holmes and Adler were lovers. The consequences of their brief relationship were unknown to Holmes until much later in his life: Damian Adler is Holmes' son.

Now, with nowhere else to turn, Damian surprises everyone when he comes to his father with a problem: Damian's wife Yolanda and their daughter Estelle are missing and, as he says to his father, 'I need you to help me find them.'

So, as Holmes would say, 'The game's afoot,' and Holmes and Mary launch into one of their most challenging cases. As a deliberately plotted mystery filled with intrigue, red herrings, harrowing dangers, the humiliation of failure, plenty of apiarian science, and the trademark tenacity of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, The Language of Bees is another imaginative winner. Sure, this may not appeal to Holmes purists, but Laurie R. King proves once again that she has few rivals equal to her skills in recreating the irresistible spirit of the sleuth of Baker Street.

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