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Laurie R. King’s The Game is part of King’s Mary Russell series of novels which are Holmes pastiche works. In the arch of stories in the series The Game is the seventh installment showing all the skill and gift for interesting turns of phrase and character that readers have come to expect from Laurie R. King.
In The Game Holmes’ brother Mycroft has a strong need for information from the Indian subcontinent since the disappearance of the master of The Game of political intrigue Kimball O’Hara (Kipling’s Kim). As with other Mary Russell novels the bulk of the story centers on Mary’s involvement in a complicated plot involving intrigue which puts her in mortal peril.
The intrepid Holmes and Russell team head toward India by ship and while in route meet a communist sympathizer who is heading to India to meet with a maharajah. The maharaja controls a key border point between India and Russia – a point not lost on Holmes and Russell. While their original task was to find Kim they quickly find themselves sidetracked by the quixotic relationship of an avowed communist and Indian royalty.
Laurie R. King expends a great deal of effort on creating the right atmosphere for her novels. The language, descriptions and characters King weaves together give the reader a real sense of the time and place of her work. King’s Holmes is as convincing a Holmes as anyone might expect one can almost hear Jeremy Brett being channeled through the pages. The Game is an enjoyable read which is what we have come to expect from King but the storyline is predictable and the twist is hardly that when it comes.