I read this book because I had read another book titled The Beekeeper’s Apprentice a few years ago, also by Laurie R. King, and had really enjoyed it. I wanted to read something further by her, and this was the only other title by her in my local library. I enjoyed this book too, but now that it is over I wish I had stuck to her “Mary Russell Novels” that are more in the vein of the first book by this author that I read. But having said that, I still look forward to reading another by her.
Both these books were well written, and are murder mysteries with Sherlock Holmes central to the story. This one, however, takes place in the present day and was not the escape reading I was angling for, since the sub-theme of gay marriage was one that, for me at least, required thought. There was an attempt to portray not only the normalcy of gay marriage but also an effort to evoke compassion for the need of it. I can easily buy the second point without a sales job and I doubt I’ll ever be convinced of the former. Maybe I’m just a heterosexual, and can’t walk far enough in someone else’s shoes to shake the lens of my own perspective. I do read books to understand the black standpoint, even though I’m white, and I would be willing to do the same to understand gays. I guess I just didn’t appreciate getting immersed in a rare-for-me murder mystery only to find out unwittingly that there was completely another agenda. For this, I demote the book to three stars.
Maybe I was supposed to expect this theme as inevitable in a mystery taking place in San Francisco? I would rather be deliberating juicy bits of extraneous evidence threading through an old fashioned detective story! Feeling denied my fix, I may be reading another book by this author sooner than I thought, that is, after determining that its twist is Sherlockian… only.
Well, I now notice on her website, www.laurierking.com that she’s got a new book coming out in April titled The Language of Bees. Humm… and I like the picture of the author; she seems like a kindred spirit.