NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “An engaging romp guaranteed to please . . . perfectly written in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”—USA Today
In England’s young silent-film industry, the megalomaniacal Randolph Fflytte is king. But rumors of criminal activities swirl around his popular movie studio. At the request of Scotland Yard, Mary Russell travels undercover to the set of Fflytte’s latest cinematic extravaganza, Pirate King. Based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, the project will either set the standard for moviemaking for a generation . . . or sink a boatload of careers.
As the company starts rehearsals in Lisbon, the thirteen blond-haired, blue-eyed actresses whom Mary is chaperoning meet the swarm of real buccaneers Fflytte has recruited to provide authenticity. But when the crew embarks for Morocco and the actual filming, Russell senses ominous currents of trouble: a derelict boat, a film crew with many secrets, decks awash with budding romance—and now the pirates are ignoring Fflytte and answering only to their outlaw leader. Where can Sherlock Holmes be? As movie make-believe becomes true terror, Russell and Holmes themselves may experience a final fadeout.
Features Laurie R. King’s short story Beekeepers for Beginners and an excerpt from Garment of Shadows.
In a foreword, King, to her credit, acknowledges the implausibility of her 11th Mary Russell novel (after The God of the Hive) by having her heroine declare, "I fear that the credulity of many readers will be stretched to the breaking point by the case's intricate and, shall we say, colourful complexity of events." If anything, this is an understatement. In the fall of 1924, Sherlock Holmes, Mary's husband, uses the threat of an impending visit from his brother, Mycroft, with whom she's at odds, to persuade Mary to travel to Lisbon, where she's ostensibly to serve as a production assistant for "a film about a film about The Pirates of Penzance." In fact, she's on covert assignment for the British government to investigate the studio behind the new film, whose releases appear to coincide with an upsurge in criminal activity. Sherlockians must wait more than half the book for Holmes to put in a cameo in this action-heavy, deduction-light installment.
The Pirate King
Disappointing. It is not really a mystery. The story begins with the possibility of a mystery to be investigated by Mary, Holmes does not figure into the plot until well into the book. It is somewhat boring and the end is very contrived. Mary must join a movie crew to find out if something shady is going on, ends up in charge of the crew, and the story drifts into the difficulties of dealing with all the egocentric actresses, actors, directors, cameramen, etc. The crew is kidnapped by pirates, Mary and Holmes save the crew and the fledgling British film industry. By the end, you just want it to be over. Every other Laurie King book is much better.
Big fan, but Pirate sooooo disappointing
Having pre-ordered, I eagerly awaited this book, having read with enjoyment all The Mary Russell series. Not only was this not of King's caliber, even a lesser know author would be judged poorly. It is not a mystery, unless you take the vaguest interpretation- meaning there is something someone doesn't know. It is rambling, lacks plot and repeats it's own nonsense to letters to Holmes. He don't appear until half way though the book. When he arrived, I honestly thought- Good maybe it will start making sense. Then I remembered, this mess is the author's fault not his! I finished it, only because I spent so much money.
Save your money
If it were possible I would have given this book zero stars. It was boring and not even close to being as good as the past books. A complete waste of money!