Nothing in King's brooding debut A Grave Talent (1993) could have prepared you for this uncommonly rich Sherlockian pastiche, in which the great detective is brought out of retirement among the bees of Sussex by a new amanuensis, budding theologian Mary Russell. Meeting the great man at the awkward age of 15, Russell (as he calls her) proves herself his intellectual equal even before their first case- -mysterious bouts of illness that befall their victims only in clear weather. After investigating a robbery and a kidnapping with Holmes, Mary goes to Oxford, and just when you've resigned yourself to more unrelated adventures, the story takes off with a series of bombings that put both Holmes and Mary in danger, and call forth both their sharpest mental efforts and their deepest feelings. Miles above recent pastiches by Carole Nelson Douglas (Irene at Large, 1992) and Nicholas Meyer (p. 821)--a surpassingly ingenious companion to Sena Jeter Naslund's Sherlock in Love (p. 1023). Don't be disappointed, though, by the most unexpected culprit since Jefferson Hope.