“Pirate King” – Combining a Mystery and a Farce

Book Review : Pirate King by Laurie R. King

Spoiler Alert!

Mary Russel is induced to investigate the criminal activities that seem to follow in the wake of Fflytte Films, in order to avoid spending time with her brother-in-law, Mycroft, who is coming to stay with Holmes. Fflytte Films is producing a silent film, Pirate King, which is a story within a story based on a film crew filming Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.

While in Lisbon Randolph Fflytte is directed to the perfect, swarthy men to play the part of the pirates.  Paired with the thirteen blond, blue-eyed actresses it seems there may be a romance or two developing. When Randolph is introduced to an old ship it is love at first sight, he must have it, refurbish it and sail her to Morocco with the entire cast. While on board Mary meets up with Sherlock and they begin to unravel the mysteries afoot. The first problem is that Fflytte Films is about to be kidnapped by the pirates, who are in fact real pirates.

Adult Point of View

I have two views of this particular book which creates a farce out of a mystery. First, if you have not recently read The God of the Hive or the other installments in the Mary Russell series you might enjoy it for it’s pure silliness. The farce of layer within layer within another layer can be confusing and yet, it is very much like the humor from The Pirates of Penzance. Pirate King is a light mystery and cannot be seen in a series light. Second, if you are reading the series straight through you will find Pirate King to be very jarring and probably not enjoy it. In every series there are always some books that fall below standard, and frankly Pirate King falls into that category compared to the depth and intrigue as found in The God of the Hive or The Language of Bees.

An interesting character in Pirate King is Fernando Pessoa, who was a real person. I can imagine his delight knowing that he has added another layer to the farce by providing Fflytte Films with real pirates. I also found the parrot, Rosie, which spouts anarchists slogans and Longfellow poetry to be rather amusing. There are not any big surprises.

3 out of 5 stars (and some will consider that too generous of a rating)

– the Mother


About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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