Much of the book is a flashback of sorts detailing the history of Mrs. Hudson. Yes, Sherlock Holmes' landlady from Baker Street, now his housekeeper in Sussex. King has created an inventive, dark, and surprisingly believable backstory for Mrs. Hudson, basing it on the fact that there's a man named Hudson in the canon story "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott." In King's hands, he is revealed to be Mrs. Hudson's father, and you know, I just don't feel like spoiling this story too much because I would have been really mad if I'd known much more than that myself going in.
Well, except I'll tell you this: the story revolves around con artistry. And I am perilously fond of confidence men, grifters, matchstick men, hustlers, and flimflammers. Which is why this book drew me in so quickly and deeply. Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell kind of float on the periphery of this one for a long time, very intensely tied to the plot, but at the same time staying a bit in the background for 200 pages. Holmes gets page time in the flashbacks too, a young Holmes working his first case, which is charming. But I wasn't bothered by their absence because the story King wove around Mrs. Hudson was so compelling.
Particularly Good Bits:
"The smiling countryside," he said bitterly. "Its potential for sin has always filled me with horror. Now I have added to its lonely secrets" (p. 172).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: R for more scenes of sensuality than are typical of this series, and also violence and some language.