King’s latest Mary Russell story, about the young woman who married Sherlock Holmes, is a charming, exciting, great mystery. It is also very funny and not to be missed. New readers could start here without confusion but should know the books are usually more serious. The characters are flamboyant, as both pirates and actors can be, and the themes of pretending, misdirection and deception are used to great effect.
At the request of Scotland Yard, Mary takes Sherlock’s place investigating the financials of a silent film company and any connection it has to a missing young woman, and becomes the producer’s assistant. Fflyttes Films is filming Pirates, and because the company members are known to echo in real life the problems of each of their movies (drug use, gun smuggling), Mary is soon confronting pretend pirates and real pirates, pretend crime and real crime. (BANTAM, Sep., 320 pp., $25.00)