The Lantern’s Dance by Laurie R. King

February 28th, 2024 Kimberly Guest Post, Review 5 Comments

28th Feb

Sophia Rose is here with a review of The Lantern’s Dance by Laurie R. King. Come see why she loved this adventure in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes historical mystery series.

The Lantern’s Dance by Laurie R. King
The Lantern’s Dance
by Laurie R. King
Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #18
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, hoping for a respite in the French countryside, are instead caught up in a case that turns both bewildering and intensely personal.

After their recent adventures in Transylvania, Russell and Holmes look forward to spending time with Holmes’ son, the famous artist Damian Adler, and his family. But when they arrive at Damian’s house, they discover that the Adlers have fled from a mysterious threat.

Holmes rushes after Damian while Russell, slowed down by a recent injury, stays behind to search the empty house. In Damian’s studio, she discovers four crates packed with memorabilia related to Holmes’ granduncle, the artist Horace Vernet. It’s an odd mix of treasures and clutter, including a tarnished silver lamp with a rotating shade: an antique yet sophisticated form of zoetrope, fitted with strips of paper whose images dance with the lantern’s spin.

In the same crate is an old journal written in a nearly impenetrable code. Intrigued, Russell sets about deciphering the intricate cryptograph, slowly realizing that each entry is built around an image—the first of which is a child, bundled into a carriage by an abductor, watching her mother recede from view.

Sophia Rose’s Review

Mary and Holmes arrive at the house in the south of France where Holmes’ artist son, Damian Adler and his family live, but the visit is off to a mysterious start when they discover the Adlers have gone into hiding after a late night intruder leaves them uneasy.  A mysterious tale in two time lines unfolds and for the first time in the series, Holmes is forced to not only reveal the details of his childhood, but face the past an investigation reveals.

The Lantern’s Dance is the eighteenth of a connected series of historical mysteries set in the world of Sherlock Holmes with a clever investigation team of the older Holmes and his young wife, Mary Russell.

As I indicated, Russell and Holmes arrive to Damian and the family off in hiding leaving the mystery of the intruder and other strangers asking about Damian.  Holmes goes on to secure the family’s safety while Mary, due to a sprained ankle, stays behind to begin the investigation.  Mary uncovers a coded journal that leads to a second time line story set nearly a hundred years in the past.  Does the journal have a bearing on the current situation?  Someone is looking for something and Damian is at the heart of it.

A couple of the previous books took Russell and Holmes to faraway places and mysteries, but The Lantern’s Dance brings things back to a personal connection within the Holmes-Adler family.  Holmes and Damian have not had a good history trying to reconnect as father and son.  The tension between them crackles.  I was in suspense when the pair shared any scenes together. 

The journal story Mary uncovered was riveting and I kept wanting to slip back into that story. 

The present day case of the strangers chasing Damian was engaging, but didn’t hold my interest as much as the more personal storylines.

 I enjoyed learning the connection to the indigo dye industry, French Colonial India, and art giving a vivid historical backdrop.  But, most of all, I was highly engaged when the reveals came and all the secrets were out for those final scenes. 

All in all, I was simply satisfied to be right back in the Russell and Holmes world with Mary and Sherlock sharpening their wits and rooting out the secrets.  I was glad to see things advance with Holmes and his son, and I look forward to further adventurous cases for Mary and Sherlock.  Historical Mystery fans really need to give this series a go.

Amazon | Audible

About Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories. She is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology.

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About Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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5 Responses to “The Lantern’s Dance by Laurie R. King”

  1. Katherine

    I think this was my favorite in the series so far though I do need to go back and reread the earlier books as it’s been years since I read them. I loved getting a bit of a peek into Holmes and Damien’s childhoods.