Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Acclaimed Corralitos mystery writer Laurie R. King has shepherded her husband-and-wife detective team through some dark, sobering themes in her last couple of books—religious fanaticism, moral corruption, even human sacrifice. Her latest novel, Pirate King, takes another tack entirely. For this eleventh outing in her popular mystery series, King places her intrepid heroine, Mary Russell, and her equally redoubtable husband, Sherlock Holmes, smack in the middle of a witty, lighthearted romp of an adventure involving the early days of the silent film industry, Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and, of course, pirates.

King combines the usual scholarship, travelogue, feminism and skullduggery readers have come to expect from her Russell-Holmes mysteries with swashbuckling on the high seas and a healthy dose of absurdist hilarity—along with the ever-deepening affection and camaraderie between Russell and her much older, yet still vigorous spouse. The combination is just about irresistible. Fans can get a taste of this tall tale when King reads from her new novel next Tuesday, September 20, at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Pirate King
begins with Russell craving nothing more than a few weeks of leisure among the books and bees at the Sussex cottage she and Holmes share. Instead, she is invited by Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard to insinuate herself into the employment of a London motion picture company that appears to be leaving a trail of mayhem in its wake. Maddeningly encouraged by Holmes, and fearing the imminent arrival of Holmes' alarming brother, Mycroft, for an extended visit, she reluctantly takes the assignment. (Read more)

(Laurie King will read from and sign copies of Pirate King Tuesday, September 20, at Bookshop Santa Cruz, 7:30 pm.)

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