Scan 5Garment of Shadows is the twelfth (I think) and latest instalment in the chronicles of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, husband and wife sleuthing team. It follows on directly from the events of Pirate King which I talked about here.

The book opens with Russell waking up in a strange room in Morocco with amnesia from a head injury; snatches of memory come back to her in dribs and drabs and she is aware of a range of skills that are clearly second nature but she has no idea how she developed them. At the same time Holmes is hugely concerned that his wife has gone missing and sets off to search for her. All of this against the background of unrest and revolution in the country. Is it all connected?

Well, of course it’s all connected and we’d be disappointed if it wasn’t, especially as it turns out that the French governor is a distant cousin of Holmes. The book is full of intrigue and ambushes, captures and escapes, and figures from the past. The amnesia device could have been a cliché but is handled really well and the manner in which Russell regains her memories rings true. I’m also pleased to say ( and I don’t think this is a spoiler) that the separation from Holmes is not strung out for two long as (and I know I’ve said this before) I really believe that one of the strengths of this series is the relationship between the two and I love to see them working together.

As always the historical research is impeccable but it’s handled very lightly and I learned quite a few things I didn’t know before; the author’s note is very interesting in that respect.

A special treat was the novella included at the end of the book, previously only available electronically, which takes us back to events in the very first novel The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

Another very enjoyable read.

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