The New York Times Bestseller.
For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad was a delicious anticipation. There was even a mystery to solve – the unexplained disappearance of an entire colony of bees from one of Holmes’s beloved hives. But the anticipated sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a bitter memory from her husband’s past.
Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, when the promising surrealist painter had been charged with – and exonerated from – murder. Now the talented and troubled young man is enlisting their help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child.
From suicides among the Standing Stones to a bizarre religious cult, from the demi-monde of the Café Royal at the heart of Bohemian London to the dark secrets of a young woman’s past on the streets of Shanghai, Russell will find herself on the trail of a killer more dangerous than any she’s ever faced – a killer Sherlock Holmes himself may be protecting for reasons near and dear to his heart.
Readers will learn a lot about bee-keeping in bestseller King's sometimes lively, sometimes plodding ninth Mary Russell novel (after Locked Rooms), though the focus is on Sherlock Holmes's estranged artist son, Damien Adler, who pays an unexpected visit to Holmes and Mary Russell, Holmes's wife, in Sussex. Damien, "a drug-addled derelict" who was arrested for his drug dealer's murder several years back, soon becomes a suspect in more recent deaths. He enlists his father's aid in searching for his missing wife and daughter, while Mary undertakes her own quest into Damien's questionable past. Incognito, she finds her way to Damien's shabby Bohemian London home and to the Children of Light, a Druidic-style cult whose disturbing book Testimony, illustrated by Damien, is quoted at the start of each chapter. While the detective's shrewdly observant brother, Mycroft, and other Doyle regulars appear, fans of the original Holmes stories should be prepared for a strong feminist slant.