“The Moor” is another novel in the clever, entertaining and very successful Mary Russell series.
Mary Russell, as in Mrs. Sherlock Holmes.
The young wife of the now elderly detective is the one with energy and good humour and a delicious sense of irony, and we see the world and its crimes through her eyes. She may be notoriously short-sighted, and totally dependent on her glasses, but not much escapes her notice.
This adventure, set on Dartmoor, sees husband and wife set out to solve the mystery of the reappearance of the Hound of the Baskervilles, and from this point onwards, in typical Laurie R. King style, fact and fiction – well, more accurately, fiction and fiction – are joyously mixed together.
There is a delicious moment when Sherlock Holmes suggest to his young wife that she re-read “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and she privately admits to we the readers, that “although I would have hesitated to admit it in Holmes’ hearing, I enjoyed Conan Doyle’s stories”.
She goes on to tell us that apparently when Sherlock Holmes had discovered that Conan Doyle had set some of the stories in the first person, so seemingly narrated by Sherlock Holmes, he had threatened the author with a lawsuit.
Delightful twists and turns such as these abound, adding to the cleverness of the book. The Moor of the title plays a major role in this adventure, and the descriptions of its savage, frightening beauty are powerful.
We also meet the frail but still intimidating and erudite Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, in whose home Mary and Sherlock Holmes stay, whilst solving the murders that are taking place on the moor. Yet again, the clever interweaving of fact and fiction makes the adventure that much more fun.
Laurie R.King has pulled off another literary tour de force – perhaps almost as dazzling as “The Game” (reviewed in an earlier review in this blog) – making “The Moor’ an immensely enjoyable, clever, witty novel.
Published by Picador (originally in 1998), the paperback costs $15.
If you would like to buy the book, after reading this review (and I would take that as a compliment !) then simply click on the link below.