A Perfect 10
Bantam Books
ISBN: 978-0-345-53179-7
eISBN: 978-0-345-53180-3
February 2015

Shipboard en route to Japan, Japan, and Oxford, England 1924

Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, have boarded a ship in Bombay for a journey to Japan, and eventually to Mary's San Francisco home to clear up some personal business. Mary is not one to enjoy the close crowd-filled social events of shipboard life, and she knows that Holmes is not one to launch himself into that aspect of travel, either. Holmes, meanwhile, has noticed the sudden arrival just before the ship is set to sail, of someone he detests. Not because of who he is, but because of what he is, a blackmailer. James, the Earl of Darley, and his much younger wife force the ship to delay departure as they, the earl's son, and their massive amounts of luggage are brought aboard. For Holmes, at least, this will be an interesting voyage.

Mary, on the other hand, makes no bones about the fact that she wants to avoid any more conflicts, adventures, or whatever Holmes and his brother, back in England, have involved her in recently. So she purposely avoids the parties and gatherings, and parks herself deck side to read, preferably alone. But she soon meets a young Japanese woman who reveals to her that she is from a family of acrobats. Mary is intrigued, and she decides that Haruki Sato could help her and her fellow passengers with making their visit to Japan a little easier by learning something of the country. Still, there is something slightly mysterious about Haruki, especially when, while Mary and Holmes are doing a little after hours sleuthing on the earl, encounter Haruki doing a high wire act in the dark over their heads!

When the ship arrives in Japan, the passengers go in different directions. Mary and Holmes end up traveling the length of Japan at the urging of Haruki. They have learned that Haruki is far from being just an acrobat, and that the task she has involved them in has both local and global consequences.

Mary Russell tells the story in first person, her observations both critical and humorous, and her famous husband always has a few comments to add to her musings. The mystery/adventure that they share with Haruki comes to a very surprising and interesting conclusion.

Not to be missed, do enjoy DREAMING SPIES, a Perfect 10 by Laurie R. King.

Jani Brooks