The Language of Bees, by Laurie R. King

Language of Bees
The Language of Bees

The Language of Bees is King’s ninth book featuring Mary Russell’s partnership with the legendary Sherlock Holmes. The mystery begins almost before Russel and Holmes can settle back into their Sussex home after traveling around the world (see The Game and Locked Rooms). Holmes gets a visit from his son, Damian Adler, who is also the son of Irene Adler–famous as the only woman to get the best of Holmes.

Damian’s wife and child have gone missing, and he wants Holmes’ help tracking them down. After solving the mystery of Holmes’ dead hive, Russell tracks her husband and step-son down in London and tries to pick up the trail of Yolanda Adler among the Bohemians and fuzzy-headed religious seekers in that city. On top of all this, Russell has to find out if Damian–who’s been arrested before for murder–is responsible for the disappearance or if it’s the responsibility of a cult leader on the loose in London. And then, Damian disappears and Yolanda turns up dead. Their daughter is sill missing.

Not only is the mystery intriguing, but King pulls in her theological expertise to create a convincing cult of celestial light worshippers, complete with rituals and holy texts. Even Aleister Crowley gets name dropped a couple of times. King shines during the sections where Russell tries to psychoanalyze the author of Testimony, the Children of Lights’ holy book. Readers of a less academic stripe might think these parts bog down the plot, but I was completely hooked.

***SPOILERS AHEAD.***

You’ve been warned.

The only downside to this book is the cliffhanger at the end. I hate it when books end, but don’t really end. And it just ticks me off when I read a good mystery only to find out that I have to wait a year (or more) to see how it all plays out. Especially when the last three words of the book are “to be continued.” Just make the book longer! I’m willing to stick with an author for another couple of hundred pages. Or, if the author is creating a Big Bad, just end the first book and start a second with a clean break. I have no problem with episodic series. For the record, I had it when TV series pull the same sort of shenanigans.

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