Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes hope they can rest awhile between cases, but then Mycroft, who is seriously ill, calls on them to do him a favor. One of his agents, Kimball O'Hara (aka Rudyard Kipling's "Kim") is missing, and he wants Russell and Holmes to find him. The two journey to India, where they encounter danger from unknown sources. Mary and Holmes split up (although they aren't separated as much as they were in the previous book, thank goodness), with Holmes going off to pretend to be a magician, and Mary going to investigate a wealthy and somewhat insane maharaja.
This report prepared by Melissa Cookson
Bantam, Mar 2004, 23.95, 368 pp.
In 1924 Kimball O'Hara vanishes in India while Mycroft Holmes receives a package of Kim's documents that makes him concerned that an international crisis may be brewing. He sends his brother Sherlock and his sister-in-law Mary Russell (who kept her own last name) to India to learn what happened to Kim, an English spy. On the voyage out, they meet wealthy American communist bore Tom Goodheart and his traveling companions, his mother and sister heading to see his friend, Maharaja “Jimmy” Jumalpandra, ruler of the Indian state of Khanpur. Holmes and Mary do their best to avoid the pompous know it all Yank.
In India the couple masquerade as native magicians helped by Mary's ability to speak Hindi, a language she learned during the voyage. As they follow the clues the married couple wonders if Kim purposely disappeared or is a victim of foul play. Their avoidance of Tom ends when their path takes them to the Goodhearts and their enigmatic benefactor Jimmy for somehow the communist sympathizer and his Maharaja comrade are connected to Kim.
Besides the fact that Kim is the grown up star of the Rudyard Kipling classic, fans will appreciate the depth of detail that sweeps the reader back to early 1924. The story line is fun to follow as Mary more than Sherlock (is he over the hill?) begins piecing together the puzzle. Thus she is the strength of this historical mystery but she is so perfect that Holmes looks like he belongs in a rocker sitting in Sussex. Still Laurie R. King provides an enjoyable foray into the Jewel of the British Empire.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner