“Still, I had a book.” -Mary Russell, “The Game”
And, you would think that Mary Russell, wife and partner of Sherlock Holmes in Laurie R. King’s novel, “The Game,” would have time to read on the long voyage between rural England and exotic, remote India. No such chance. It’s only the second day of 1924, and Mycroft Holmes has embroiled to clever duo in one of his signature intrigues. Sherlock Holmes uses the lengthy voyage to stuff Russell’s head with language, history, and skill lessons necessary for their assignment.
Mycroft Holmes calls on the pair only for the most secret, and potentially deadly assignments. His New Year’s gift to them is a strange package containing the papers of an English spy named Kimball O’Hara—known to the world through Kipling’s famed novel “Kim.” Inexplicably, O’Hara withdrew from the “Great Game” of espionage and now he has just as inexplicably disappeared. Eccentric Indian princes, flamboyant flappers, and charming British soldiers populate the fast paced adventure which pairs two of England’s favorite literary characters; Doyle’s Holmes and Kipling’s Kim.
While traveling India in the roaring 20’s may sound “nifty,” period details indicate some of the sights are at best off-putting. Mired in ennui, the ultra-rich seek ever more demanding sports, outrageous parties, and bizarre, if expensive collections, to excite their minds and senses.
“The Kitten’s Wedding,” Walter Potter’s Museum of Curiosities
Case in point, Russel discovers a secret “toy room” filled with mechanical and taxidermied oddities. During the Victorian era, taxidermists created scenes from everyday domestic life – a cricket match, a tea and croquet party, a wedding, a schoolroom – using taxidermied guinea pigs, rabbits, kittens, squirrels, and other small birds and animals. Imagine coming across these curiosities while searching a dark room!
An exciting read.
The Game (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #7)
Laurie R. King
Kindle Edition, 480 pages
First published January 1, 2004