77. The Language of Bees, by Laurie R. King
Although I am not ordinarily fond of books that take a well-known character of another author and place him (or her) in a situation that the originating author would have found ludicrous, it is nevertheless the case that I enjoy King's Mary Russell series, despite the fact that she has contrived to marry off Sherlock Holmes. That in itself is quite contrary to Holmes' nature as created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but, on top of that, she marries him off to a woman far younger than himself. And in this book, she has given him a son by Irene Adler (a/k/a "The Woman").
Russell and Holmes have returned to Sussex following a lengthy sojourn abroad (the details of which are available in King's previous books). One of Holmes' bee colonies has been engaging in very odd swarming behavior, but more seriously, his estranged son, a brilliant Surrealist painter, appears to announce that his wife and young daughter have disappeared. Mary and Holmes proceed to investigate, with Holmes attempting to do so while keeping his relationship with Damian Adler secret. Yolanda Adler's background is a dubious one, to say the least. That, as well as Damian's past involvement with the law, former drug addiction and shell-shock (what we would call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) from his war experiences, cause suspicion to fall upon him when his wife's body is found. It appears that her murder may be related to other odd murders that have been occurring.
Although this book was a compelling read, it was, ultimately, a bit unsatisfying. For one thing, I am a bit tired of mysterious cults, and I'm afraid we're going to get more of the one that King created for this book. More seriously, though, is the fact that too many threads were left hanging, too many questions remain unanswered.
So only a mild recommendation.