In 1915, long since retired from his observations of criminal humanity, Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. Never did he think to meet an intellect to match his own–until his acquaintance with Miss Mary Russell, a very modern fifteen-year-old whose mental acuity is equaled only by her audacity, tenacity, and penchant for trousers and cloth caps.
Under Holmes’s tutelage, Russell hones her talent for deduction, disguises, and danger: in the chilling case of a landowner’s mysterious fever and in a kidnapping in the wilds of Wales. But her ultimate challenge is yet to come. Soon the two sleuths are on the trail of a murderer whose machinations scatter meaningless clues…but whose objective is quite unequivocal: to end Russell and Holmes’s partnership–and their lives.
Imagine Sherlock Holmes retiring to a Sussex farm but keeping his hand in by occasionally investigating cases for the British government. Imagine further that Watson was not so much Holmes' helpmate and confidant as a kindly bumbler who proved more a hindrance than a help. Then picture Holmes, walking on the Sussex Downs, literally stumbling across a 15-year-old girl whose brilliant intellect, caustic wit, egotistical personality, and gift for detail rival Holmes' own. Finally, envision the stirring adventures Holmes and his protegee could have as a detective duo. King has used these fanciful possibilities to create a wonderfully original and entertaining story that is funny, heartwarming, and full of intrigue, with Holmes and his young apprentice, Mary Russell, matching wits with some of the finer criminal minds of the times, including the brilliantly diabolic daughter of Holmes' old enemy, Professor Moriarty. Everything about this book rings true, from the ambience of World War I England to the intriguing relationship between Holmes and Mary to the surprising final confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty's daughter. Holmes fans, history buffs, lovers of humor and adventure, and mystery devotees will all find King's book absorbing from beginning to end.