Castle Shade

Bantam. (Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Bk. 17). Jun. 2021. 386p. ISBN 9780525620860. $28. M
Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell journey from the sunny beaches of their previous adventure (Riviera Gold) to the Carpathian Mountains, home of Count Dracula and Elizabeth Báthory. Holmes has been engaged to help Queen Marie of Roumania protect her daughter Princess Ireana and put a stop to rumors that the queen is following in the bloodthirsty steps of her real and fictitious predecessors. While Mycroft Holmes believes Marie’s troubles are an attempt to destabilize the country politically, Sherlock and Russell are convinced that someone closer to home wants the queen out of her castle so they can take possession of it themselves. Russell and Holmes must solve the case before the perpetrator turns from threats to murder. King mixes a bit of real history with a case of misdirection and mayhem that goes back to basic detective principles, while her protagonists deal in their inimitable style with secretive locals, politics going awry, and trust issues that won’t stay on the back burner.
VERDICT Highly recommended for historical mystery fans who have followed the series, as well as readers looking for historical heroines with agency such as Maisie Dobbs, Bess Crawford, or Phryne Fisher.
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