2011-06-04

Expansion of the Holmes universe

I threw myself at the next Holmes & Russell adventure by Laurie R King, "The Game". This time she mixes Holmes-mythology with something that I´m not at all familiar with, and that is Rudyard Kipling´s "Kim". I had no idea, really, all I know Kipling for is "The Jungle Book" and that´s just courtesy of Walt Disney. According to Wikipedia, Kipling is most known for children´s books celebrating British imperialism and that had definately gone out of style when I was young, if it ever was very popular in Scandinavia. A quick look at the library database tells me that there are versions of it from 1957, 1984, and 2002, so perhaps I just missed it. It´s a classic. What do you know.

Anyway, guess what? When Holmes was "dead" from having supposedly fallen down Reichenbacher Falls with Moriarty, he spent some time in India, working with Kim! And it´s not King´s idea, she has stolen it from a guy called Jamyang Norbu! If only Conan Doyle could have foreseen it all...

It is now 1924, the Labour Party has won the last election, Lenin is lying on his deathbed, and the British and US establishments are becoming anxious about the Communists.  It´s been 30 years since Holmes worked with Kim, who is still a spy for the British government and has gone missing. Other agents go missing too, and turn up dead. Mycroft Holmes wants to know what´s going on and sends Holmes and Russell to investigate. On the boat to India they encounter an American family on their way to visit a maharaja in the north. The son, a self-proclaimed Marxist, attracts Holmes´attention. Not surprisingly, they meet again.

With the help of British officer Nesbit and street urchin Bindra, a few great disguises, magic, and a bit of blind luck, they discover the fate of Kim and saves the British Empire. For the time being, at least. King is mainly focused on the adventure, but she also manages to nudge the Holmes-Russell relationship along an inch of two. Russell is really coming into her own as a powerful and independent player of the great detective-game and Holmes, though always in control of his end, does not always hold the initiative.

I have already bought the next one, "Locked Rooms" from ebooks.com that may soon be my new favourite webshop... But first I shall take a turn with G√ľnter Grass!

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