This is Part II of a story began in [b:The Language of Bees|5226845|The Language of Bees (Mary Russell, #9)|Laurie R. King|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320513071s/5226845.jpg|5294117], in which Russell and Holmes - back in England after an eight month absence - become involved in a mystery concerning the artist Damian Adler and his wife and child. I was underwhelmed by The Language of Bees: its cliffhanger ending didn't particularly bother me because I didn't care enough about the story to want to jump right into Part II. However, I'm glad that my reaction didn't put me off continuing with the series, because this novel was all that I've come to expect from King's excellent writing.
King finishes the story involving Damian Adler (Holmes' son, whose mother was Irene Adler) in the style of a thriller rather than a detective story. The narrative is from several points of view: Mary Russell's first person narrative as she travels from the Orkney Islands to London with an injured pilot and Adler's three year old daughter Estelle and third person narratives from the perspectives of Sherlock Holmes, Detective Chief Inspector Lestrade and the villain, whose identity and motivation are revealed relatively early in the piece. The changing points of view make the narrative a little choppy, but that is part of the point, I think, of turning the novel into a thriller. It makes for a fast ride with frequent changes of direction.
One of the high points of the novel is the character of Robert Goodman - a psychologically damaged WWI veteran and a kind of Holy Fool. It would be lovely to see him return later in the series, but whether or not that's even possible would take me into spoiler territory.
Overall, my enjoyment of this novel took away the disapointment engendered by The Language of Bees and I'm looking forward to the next instalment in a very entertaining series. This has been great light holiday reading: implausible and far-fetched, but fun.