At the end of October, I finished my comforting R.I.P. XIV reading with The Moor by Laurie R. King, the fourth Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery. While each book is a self-contained mystery, there is the continuing character arc for Mary running through them all, therefore I recommend checking out the first book,The Beekeepers Apprentice, if you’re unfamiliar with the series.
Having not long pulled themselves out of the mire of a difficult and emotionally draining case – in A Letter of Mary – Mary is irritated to say the least, when her studies in Oxford are disturbed by a summons from her husband, Sherlock Holmes to come join him on the eerie wasteland of Dartmoor. There Holmes has begun an investigation, on behalf of his old friend, Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, into a mysterious death and some disturbing, supernatural sightings of a spectral coach and a hound with a single glowing eye.
If you are familiar with the original Hound of the Baskervilles mystery, then you will know that this is the scene of one of Holmes’ most celebrated cases. However you may also recognise the name of the real-life Baring-Gould, who was the vicar that corresponded with Holmes and gave him the lowdown on the local inhabitants in the first mystery. In this new mystery, King is able to flesh him out as a full character – An eccentric, obtuse, old gentleman from a well-established family on the moor; who immediately gets our progressive Mary’s hackles up, but who overtime she comes to respect as a diligent pastor, respected squire and extensive author.
Unfortunately, at an impressive 90 years old, Baring-Gould, the antiquarian, amateur archaeologist and general adventurer, is no longer able to get out on his beloved moor to discover what is wrong, but he senses something is. So that’s where Mary and Holmes come in, to be his eyes, ears and most importantly his feet. Again Mary takes on a key role, equal to Holmes’, in this case, as they split up to cover more of this vast moor, searching for clues and talking to the locals.
But much to Mary’s chagrin this is firmly Holmes territory, due to his success with the first hound mystery he is renowned by every inhabitant, who heartily hail her as ‘Zherlock Mary’ wherever she goes. Annoying for Mary, however rather amusing for me and I liked the harking back to the previous infamous case. Whether for her or just Holmes’ sake though, the locals are generally welcoming and ready to lend a hand. So it is not too long before this married sleuthing team are able to build a picture of what rational explanation is behind the death and diabolical goings on, on the misty moor.
All in all, I thought The Moor was another nostalgic and thrilling adventure with Mary Russell and the famous Sherlock Holmes. I look forward to reading more from this series – I already have the next book, O Jerusalem waiting on my TBR pile. Good read.
I’d love to hear your thoughts: Have you read this? Or any of the other Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books?
This was book #6 for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XIV.