Pirate King by Laurie R. King This series has been getting good reviews for years, but this is my first try. It’s set in the 1920s, and Sherlock Holmes has married the much younger Mary Russell. Mysteries of course still ensue. This is the eleventh in the series, and I was finally encouraged to pick it up because it is about pirates. Not just any pirates, but the Pirates of Penzance, the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta which I have adored ever since I didn’t make my high school production of it. So: Fflytte films is a film company famous for filming the real thing. Now, there are two mysteries around it that Mary Russell is investigating: a missing secretary and surges in illicit items like arms and cocaine after Fflytte films does a film about such a subject. The easiest way to investigate is to apply for the missing secretary’s job, which Russell does. The current film – get ready for convolution here – is about a film company making a movie of the Pirates of Penzance (set in Portugal and Morocco instead of the actual Penzance in Cornwall), which gets overtaken by real pirates. Naturally, as the film company in our book heads off for Portugal and Morocco, they too are taken over by real pirates. Dun dun DUNNN!!! Despite the action, Russell felt developed enough as a character to keep the book from being a cardboard-character thriller. This was a mystery that hit the perfect balance of fun and literary without ever getting into the gory. It had plenty of both G&S and classic Holmes references to satisfy geeks of both varieties.
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