Author: Laurie R. King
Genre: Mystery, speculative fiction.
Reason for Reading: I really like this author, and my girlfriend talked up this specific title. (It deserved her recommendation.)
Copyright Date: 2007
Cover: A hand opening an old book, against a black background.
Setting: The nineteen twenties, mostly England.
First line: "Small things: straws on camels' backs."
Best part: The interplay between the characters is deeply compelling.
Worst part: This is a difficult book to read. It's thoughtful enough to be slow going, and in places it's upsetting.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Don't Let It Bring You Down," Annie Lenox version
Recommended for: Fans of the period between the world wars. Those who like mystery with a touch of the fantastic.
Related Reads: Night Work by the same author, The Genius by Jesse Kellerman (I know, I've been mentioning that book a lot recently), Powers of Detection.
The rising star of Britain's labor party. The blueblooded woman who loves him and his cause. Their unappreciated secretary. The FBI agent who cannot escape his past. They will be brought together by two men - a predator and a victim. The challenge is in figuring out which is which.
This book is much more subtle than one might expect from an author of wildly popular Holmes pastiches. It's dark and serious and made me think. Its focus on the class struggle in Britain between the wars brought a new richness to my understanding of this time period, and its careful line-treading between mystery and fantasy is deeply intriguing.