SBD: two mysteries read

On the reading front, I finished not one but two mysteries in the last couple of days.

The first book was Laurie R. King’s The Language of Bees, a Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery.  This is not a series I’d read before and I had no idea what to expect of it.   My takeaway:  the series is not for me.  I was vaguely squicked when the narrator revealed her age (24) and Holmes’ (mid 60s), after noting that she first met him and was an apprentice of sorts from the time she was 14 or 15.  Okay, I’m sure the earlier books walked through the development of their relationship in a way that assuages any concern, yet I felt disturb by the pairing given the age gap.  Beyond that, the book was grindingly dull.  The pacing was extremely slow, and the narrative full of telling rather than showing.  The ending (cliffhanger + series bait) was disappointing as well.  Are readers supposed to find Mary Russell to be an intrepid adventurer?  Maybe, but she seemed somewhat Mary Sue-ish to me.

Followed by Camilla Lackberg’s The Stonecutter.  This is a Sweden-set mystery first published in 2005, translated to English and published in the UK in 2010. (Coming to the US in 2012.)   A child is found drowned in the small community of Fjallbacka, and detective Patrik Hedstrom is assigned to find the killer.  The narration is all third person, with different POV threads, including a thread from the 1920s following the titular stonecutter, which for some time does not seem to have relevance to the plot.  (It does, of course.)  I liked this book, and guessed whodunnit fairly early on despite not really understanding the relevance of the historical snippets threaded through the book.  Maybe not as much as I like Jo Nesbo’s work, but I would definitely read more from Lackberg.



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3 responses to “SBD: two mysteries read

  1. I read one in the Mary Russell series a while ago, A Letter of Mary, and I quite enjoyed it. I even liked the relationship, in spite of the age difference, because they behaved as equals. But… I can’t bring myself to read the first book, as just thinking of Mary being in her teens when the relationship starts to develop squicks me out.

    • Actually, when it came to the mystery and everyday life, Holmes and Russell seemed to be on a level field, and their interactions made me wonder what the dynamic was in earlier books. It was almost platonic and asexual. Depending on how the relation developed over the series, I can imagine it working, but jumping in and getting the partial info-dump of their past was a mistake for me.

  2. Pingback: April’s reading | Shuffling through a book-less desert

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