This book is the first of 18, so far, of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes investigations. This book was published in 1994.
The story begins in 1915 when fifteen-year-old Mary stumbled on Holmes as he was watching bees gather pollen. Holmes was retired and enjoying the countryside after living most of his life in London. In that meeting, Holmes saw a person of mental equality with himself. Holmes, by the way, would have been sixty that year.
During the rest of the summer, their relationship turned into an apprenticeship which carried on through the remainder of the war. Mary did attend school, including Oxford (a women’s college of course) in 1917 and 1918.
In all that time Mary practiced the skills she learned in the summer months until Holmes allowed her to assist him in some cases–he was not as retired as he told everyone he was.
The majority of the book places both teacher and student in mortal danger as an unknown adversary pulls their strings like a puppet master.
If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes you will like this book. Laurie King was inducted into the Baker Street Irregulars for her writing, even though she is an American.
An interesting feature of the story is that Mary Russell seeks a degree from Oxford in theology, something Holmes considers a waste of time. Ms. King does have an honorary doctorate in theology. I hope the following books maintain Russell’s desire to know her Jewish heritage, including the religious heritage.
A good book.