Monday, October 3, 2011

The Pirates of ... Where?

Pirate King by Laurie R. King.*
Those who believe that a series gets weaker the longer it goes on have not read Laurie King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books. This is the eleventh title in the series, and while it may not be the best of the bunch, it certainly ranks in the top three or four.

Russell/Holmes aficionados will know that Mary does not feel kindly towards her brother-in-law Mycroft. (Something about him being manipulative...?) So, when her husband tells her that his brother will be coming to stay for a few weeks while some work his done on his own house, Mary feels the need to be elsewhere. But her flat in Oxford has been flooded due to a broken pipe, so it appears she has no recourse.

Inspector Lestrade to the rescue! He asks Mary to be his "mole" in a silent film company owned by megalomaniac Randolph St. John Warminster-Fflyte ("Fflyte films -- Fflytes of fancy") who has decided to make a film about a film company making a film of a production of The Pirates of Penzance. And Mr. Fflyte has a need for authenticity, so they will be filming on location. No, not in Penzance. In Lisbon. You'll need to read the book to find out why.

From the time that Mary appears to the offices of Fflyte Films and introduces herself to general manager Geoffrey Hale, whose assistant she is replacing, the narrative begins to resemble an episode of I Love Lucy, with the distinction that if Mary takes one action things could be fine, the opposite could mean death or worse.

Yes, the tale is more humorous than other stories in the series, but that doesn't make it trivial. Trying to keep track of the whole cast and crew of the production is no easy task, but of course Mary manages magnificently. And in the process, she just happens to solve a mystery or two (with some help from her husband).

This book is truly a delight. It will certainly be enjoyed by Mary Russell fans, and might even draw some more into the company.

*Many thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.


  1. I haven't read Laurie King yet, but she's on my list. I was on an author panel with her at LCC one year, and she's very interesting!

  2. Thanks for another good review, Marlyn. By yet another author I haven't read.


  3. Laurie King is not to be missed. Thanks, Marlyn.

  4. Thanks for telling us about Laurie King and this series, Marlyn! I'll be sure to check her out!

  5. Pirates, I Love Lucy...and murder, too?
    I've never read any of her books, but it sounds like a wild little adventure she's got going there.


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