Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
Before Dreaming Spies I had only read the first book of the Russell/Holmes stories, and while I normally don’t read series books out of sequence I was thoroughly captivated by this well developed and deeply involving travelogue adventure set mainly on a cruising steamer ship and in Japan. Consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and his much younger wife Mary Russell--a serious but intrepid bluestocking--are a surprising but well matched couple. Since both are reflexively inquisitive, highly intelligent, and decidedly independent they make good investigative and life partners, though if romantic passion led to their marriage that’s no longer evident this far along in the series.
Dreaming Spies immerses Russell, Holmes, and the reader in the country and culture of early twentieth century Japan and involves ninjas, blackmail, the international travel set, the Japanese heir to the throne, the deceptively demure daughter of a Japanese acrobat, and Holmes and Russell posing as both religious pilgrims and high society aristocrats. With intriguing characters, a fascinating setting, a complex mystery, and haikus scattered throughout the text, Dreaming Spies is kind of book you savor rather than rush through until its final section. The action ramps up when the story returns to Oxford and I raced through those last pages. You can enjoy Dreaming Spies even if you haven’t read all the preceding stories, but I will definitely be going back to read the earlier books in the series.
I read an advanced review copy of Dreaming Spies supplied by the publisher. Review opinions are mine.