Everyone needs a vacation. But what, exactly is a vacation? That’s a pertinent question. The general idea is that it involves a break from work – for most of us. But for some, what might be called work is a vacation by any other name. With Riviera Gold, Laurie R. King offers her readers the perfect vacation, while Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are managing to scare up mysteries and entangle themselves in a murder in Monaco. King delivers a delightful travel experience (time and place), a propulsive puzzle, and memories of time well-spent with people who matter to us.
The game is not all that’s afoot in Riviera Gold. Change is close to hand, and our beloved narrator finds herself with room to grow. She’s surreptitiously checking on Mrs. Hudson’s fate, her visit to Monaco a cover to follow up on seemingly innocent words from her former landlady and surrogate [grand]mother. Sherlock is looking into something in Romania, scoffing at the idea of vampires. Mary meets the locals on an off-season beach, baking in the heat. When one of them turns up dead, she finds herself competing with her absent (until he shows up) husband to solve the case.
King is clearly having the time of her life with this, and the enthusiasm is infectious. You can read Riviera Gold in a day on the beach (or on the back porch), if you like, but this is the sort of book you do not want to finish. From beginning to end, this is a place you want to be and these are people you want to spend time with. We get more of the things we want more from; Mary in the casino and the post-narrative appendices are particularly fun.
Mostly what you get is a chance to spend time with people who matter to you, everyone, when possible, relaxing in the sun. King keeps a light hand on the Holmes mythos, never overplaying or underplaying, instead, handling it all just so. As with the best books, and vacations, what you take away from Riviera Gold are wonderful memories and a gratitude for the people we are lucky enough to have in our lives. We are lucky to have Laurie R. King, and Mary Russell; so is Holmes. Into each day, a little night will fall, to be enjoyed as much as halcyon times on the beach, with or without a book.
I’ve been talking to Laurie R. King for a while; it’s always fun. Here’s our conversation via Skype. Or settle back in the sun ad press go below….