The adventure begins on a cool spring afternoon in Sussex. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes have just returned home from Lisbon to find a peculiar addition to their garden: a distinctive stone they last saw in the Imperial gardens in Kyoto.
The stone reminds them of another adventure one that ended tragically. On their way back from India, en route to San Francisco to sort out Russell's family affairs, the couple encounters a young Japanese woman who asks their help in foiling a blackmailer. Only after Russell and Holmes agree do they discover that the blackmailer's target is the Prince Regent Hirohito of Japan.
The most entertaining part of the book consists of Russell and Holmes' up close and personal encounters with daily life in the rural villages of 1924 Japan, as they travel the Nakasendo Road up the Kiso Valley, from the town of Arima to the village of Mojiro-joku, in the guise of Buddhist pilgrims. Also interesting are the descriptions of the Bodleian Library and its librarians in Oxford.
The seventeenth century itinerant poet and master of haiku is frequently invoked in these pages, as is Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff of Henry the Fourth and Fifth, and the English poet Matthew Arnold, whose "dreaming spires" of Oxford become the punning title of this book in a sly reference to the Japanese speaker's difficulties in pronouncing the letter "r" in English.
This is the thirteenth book in the Mary Russell series, but chronologically this one fills the previous gap between The Game (No. Seven), and Locked Rooms (No. Eight) and it;s immediate sequel, The Language of Bees (No. Nine).
Click HERE to read an interview with Laurie R. King in the San Francisco Examiner.
Click HERE to view the book trailer for Dreaming Spies on Youtube.