Reading Laurie R. King’s Kate Martinelli mystery reminded me that I still have quite a few books to go in her Mary Russell series, so I took The Moor with me on a Christmas trip to New York City. I think I read about 30 pages of it there (The Nutcracker, the Rockettes, Mary Poppins, shopping, etc. impinged on my reading time), but I finished it quickly once I got home.
As with all of King’s Sherlockian stories, The Moor is cleverly written: rather than retelling the Hound of the Baskervilles story, it returns Sherlock and his still-newish wife to Dartmoor years later to figure out why people are seeing a large dog and Lady Howard’s ghostly carriage again. It may be related to Army artillery testing — Mycroft has an interest in that — or it may be something more sinister.
The story begins with Mary schlepping through the rain to meet Holmes at the home of the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, whom he introduces (shockingly) as an old friend. In fact, in the course of this story Mary will learn a number of interesting things about Sherlock and his past, and about herself. Holmes actually admits he needs her to help with the case, so she’s almost a full investigative partner, and he’s completely understanding, kind even, when one turn in the case upsets Mary on an entirely human level.
It’s interesting that Mary continues to see a spiritual side to things despite Sherlock’s entirely scientific/rational approach. She feels the moor as an almost physical presence, for instance, and doesn’t want to be responsible for a villain’s death. This gives Sherlock, who does admire his wife’s mind, an opportunity to see the world differently — even if he doesn’t agree with her on such matters.
Another strong entry in the Mary Russell series, but do start from the beginning if you intend to read them all. If not, this one does quite well as a standalone.