Monday, August 22, 2011

PIRATE KING - Laurie R. King

First line: "'Honestly, Holmes? Pirates?'"

Mary Russell, wife of Sherlock Holmes, is called into service by Scotland Yard to investigate the possible criminal activity happening with the Fflytte Silent Film Production Company. While not enamored by the idea of the job, Russell is even less excited about the prospect of her brother-in-law coming to stay. So, she packs her bags and sets off for Portugal with a film crew that is creating a "realistic" movie about people performing The Pirates of Penzance.

As if the sheer chaos of shooting a film of a story within a story is not enough to contend with during a criminal investigation, the director's desire for "realism," thirteen actresses, fourteen pirates, a Portuguese translator, and a ship in questionable sailing shape all provide obstacles to Russell's successful completion of this highly bizarre case.

PIRATE KING is my first experience with Laurie King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. Even though it is the eleventh book in the series, I encountered no difficulties following the narrative - this book can easily stand alone. The story includes an entertaining plot, full of quirky characters befitting a Sherlock Holmes tale - from a creatively-dressed, Napoleon-like director to a soprano-voiced, scar-faced pirate to gum-chewing prima donna.

As Watson narrates the original Doyle stories, Russell narrates King's series. The smart, motivated and witty Russell is a captivating character; her commentary on the events as they unfold provide for colorful story-telling. Her spunk provides humor.

The plot of PIRATE KING contains well placed twists in addition to developing plot layers that work to build suspense throughout the novel. King throws in the occasional silent film subtitle block, reinforcing the movie motif, and the silence imagery extends out to language barriers between characters as well as secrets.

This novel is clever, suspenseful and fun. PIRATE KING is indeed a treasure to be discovered.

PIRATE KING will be available in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-553-80798-1) from Bantam Books on September 6, 2011.


rhapsodyinbooks August 22, 2011 at 9:01 AM  

I'm so glad to hear this can stand alone, because I've been wanting to try these, but going back to the beginning seems so daunting!

carolsnotebook August 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM  

I read the first couple in this series, but then got distracted. Sounds like this one might be a good one to pick it back up with.

Anonymous August 25, 2011 at 10:38 PM  

I have heard the rest of this series on audio, narrated by Jennie Sterlin, and enjoyed them very much. Ms. Sterlin is wonderful. I will hear this one as soon as I can get my hands on it.


Laurie C September 30, 2011 at 6:48 AM  

I just reviewed this, too, and wanted to let you know I linked to your post. I'm a little jealous of the person who commented about the audio. I think when The Beekeeper's Apprentice came out, it wasn't available on audio, and then I never tried the audio versions after that, but I bet the books would work really well as audiobooks.

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