Pirate King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes)
September 25th, 2015 by Aldouspi

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In England’s young silent-film industry, the megalomaniacal Randolph Fflytte is king. But rumors of criminal activities swirl around his popular movie studio. At the request of Scotland Yard, Mary Russell travels undercover to the set of Fflytte’s latest cinematic extravaganza, Pirate King. Based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, the project will either set the standard for moviemaking for a generation . . . or sink a boatload of careers.

As the company starts rehearsals in Lisbon, the thirteen blond-haired, blue-eyed actresses whom Mary is chaperoning meet the swarm of real buccaneers Fflytte has recruited to provide authenticity. But when the crew embarks for Morocco and the actual filming, Russell senses ominous currents of trouble: a derelict boat, a film crew with many secrets, decks awash with budding romance—and now the pirates are ignoring Fflytte and answering only to their outlaw leader. Where can Sherlock Holmes be? As movie make-believe becomes true terror, Russell and Holmes themselves may experience a final fadeout.

Features Laurie R. King’s short story, Beekeepers for Beginners, previously available only as an eBook!

Product Details

  • Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (Book 7)
  • Paperback: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780553386752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553386752
  • ASIN: 0553386751
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces

Customer Reviews

Four and a half stars

 on September 5, 2017
By Cello player
I am a huge Russell/Holmes fan, and am rationing myself to one book per year to string out the enjoyment as long as possible. After the cliffhanger non-ending to The Language of Bees, and then the whiplashing leapfrogs from character to character in The God of the Hive, I was starting to get annoyed. These literary devices were gratuitous and ultimately cheapened King's usual rich array of entertaining characters, and the complex layering of her plots and conspiracies. I was hoping that Pirate King would settle back into a more mature rhythm, and mostly that is the case. After the existential threats to the Holmes/Russell family in Hive, it is a challenge to pull back to construct a case that is less personally fraught for the protagonists, and LRK does well at this generally. However, the story is woefully deficient in Holmes - couldn't she have brought him "on board" sooner? Or included some of his perspectives along the way without killing the drama of his eventual entrance? Or allowed more of the R-H interplay that makes these books such a joy? One happy thing is that finally another female character emerges who is neither a villain nor a helpless bore. But the wrap-up seemed fast and perfunctory. One thing I love about most LRK books is their astute pacing of revelations and discoveries, with new dilemmas popping up even as Russell and Holmes figure the situation out. In Pirate King there is very little clarity about anything until the very end, when suddenly everything gets tidied up in ways that weren't necessarily developed as things went along. On the other hand, the mocking of the film industry is priceless, and the subtitles are a scream.

Amusing, over-the-top delight -- structure similarly to Hound of the Baskervilles

 on July 30, 2015
By Susan Z. Swan
While this may not be written in the style that some Sherlockians are looking for, I found Pirate King to be so much fun to read. The structure reminds me of The Hound of the Baskervilles. In Hound, Watson was the focus and for much of the tale provided the connection with Holmes via letters, until Holmes showed up in a surprising incident (and, yes, some people complain that Holmes is absent too much in Hound). This is how Pirate King is structured. We get the focus mainly on Mary with the connection with Holmes via a series of letters, and then he shows up in a MOST surprising manner. The connection with early film is interesting (I teach film and was delighted to find the references right on target) and the connection with Gilbert & Sullivan was a hoot. I don't mind Holmes being missing for part of this -- after all, these are Mary's memoirs and she shouldn't have to spend her life in Holmes' pocket. The other characters are very boldly drawn and one of the boldest, Pessoa, is based on a real character. The cover art, which is an adaptation of a Howard Pyle illustration, makes for a nice connection to early film too since early pirate movies, such as Doug Fairbanks The Black Pirate, drew from Pyle's work to create and costume the characters. Thanks, Laurie King, for such a fun treat. I also appreciate the inclusion of the short story Beekeeping for Beginners. Seeing the meeting of Mary and Sherlock from Sherlock's point of view is creative and adds insight to the relationship.

Funny book

 on November 3, 2014
By Margery L. Goldstein
Nobody seems to like this book but me!

Different, Charming, Mostly Russell

 on September 9, 2016
This episode in the Holmes/Russell adventures is about the filming of a silent movie, filled with little touches like boxed exclamations such as those seen in such films. Holmes is a relatively minor character in this one, but his apprentice handles the sleuthing with ease. Love this series!

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