Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes)
by Laurie R. King
Review by Gayle Surrette
Bantam Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553807998
Date: 04 September 2012 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Garment of Shadows is the latest entry in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. Thus the central mystery is more one for the characters rather than the readers. A woman wakes in a room with no memory of who she is, where she is or how she got to where she just woke up. There are very few clues but it takes very little time before the reader realizes that this is Mary Russell, wife of Sherlock Holmes. She's no slouch in the detecting business so we get to be in her head as she's trying to figure out who she is and whether she is paranoid or someone is really out to kill her, although the concussion is a definite clue.
Once the point of view switches to Sherlock Holmes, the reader learns that Russell is on a movie set and Sherlock is visiting a distant cousin to avoid the picture crew and is set to meet Russell as the wrap up. When he arrives he learns that Russell has disappeared and no one really cares or thinks it is a problem.
We now have the set up as Russell tries to figure out who she is and Sherlock tries to find her with some very thin hints and clues -- some would say nonexistent clues but this is Holmes after-all. To add spice, a war may be brewing between several different political factions and the region isn't all that stable to begin with as neither country claiming the land has bothered to pay attention to the people who actually live there. Then there is just a bit of political intrigue as maybe, just maybe, Russell might have been pulled into spying for some old friends and maybe relatives and you've got a story that will keep you turning the pages compulsively -- long into the night.
King manages to bring the characters alive on the page and yet keep to the Holmes canon while fitting in a modern marriage -- for the times. Russell is every bit as independent as Holmes and as capable as he is to pull hints and clues into a coherent whole that will keep her alive and out of captivity.
Fans of the series will definitely enjoy Garment of Shadows as Russell gets a major role this time. New readers could start with this volume but would miss out on some of the interactions between characters that were introduced in earlier books.