Dungeons and Detectives

It´s the final week of December 1918, when a 54-year-old Englishman and an 18-year-old American girl are secretly set ashore in Palestine, recently occupied by the British. They are recieved by two Bedouin Arabs who are not too eager to have them tagging along. Of course it turns out that Sherlock Holmes is already fluent in Arabic, and through his relentless tutoring of Mary Russell, by the time they are going home, she can pass herself off as a Bedouin boy even in conversation. Yes, there is something of the savant about both of them. I often feel, when I read about this sleuth couple, really happy that they have found each other.

The book is "O Jerusalem" by Laurie R King, an up-graded boy adventure story, the kind I loved to read when I was little. The Americans are naive, the English are heroic and stout, the Arabs are noble vicims, the Jews too, and the Turks are swarthy villains. There are a number of dungeons, no dragons, but instead heaps of d... no, I won´t spoil it for you, and the clock ticks awfully close to Dead-line. Not all is as it seems, and Sherlock Holmes is a man who does not miss the small, infinitely important details...

What is there not to love about this? They seem to think so at my local library as well, since the last few books I requested in this series have been bought rather than sent after from another library. And I have become so Holmes-enthused that I have dug out my entire small collection of episodes from the tv-series with Jeremy Brett that I have randomly recorded and never watched. I wish now I had been more diligent and got the whole series, but no doubt it will be reprised anytime soon.

I tried to buy the next book in the series, "Justice Hall", for my e-book-reader, but copyright reasons (why do they only want to sell this book in the US?) prevented this. However, someone made a smarter deal about the next one, so now I have "The Game" in my reader and a request for "Justice Hall" at my local library. I want to read them chronologically, but I´m not sure I can keep myself off "The Game". This is a really excellent whodunnit-series, highly recommended. As far as I can tell, only the two first books in the series has been translated to Swedish: "Drottningfällan" and "Det monstruösa kvinnoregimentet".

Personally, I think if you know a language well enough to read an author´s original text, you should. With a few exceptions. Some authors are really well translated and I remember giving up on Antonia S Byatt once, getting the Swedish version instead. Reading shouldn´t be a chore, after all...

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