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Colonial India

December 29, 2007

(This is the other post I handwrote when my internet died)

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of Laurie King’s Mary Russell series.  It’s a turn-of-the-century BritishElephant detective series featuring the super-intelligent, six-foot tall Mary Russell and her partner, the man who helped her through a difficult adolescence by training her in the detective arts-Sherlock Holmes.  I picked up The Game, the seventh in the series, and was delighted to discover that Mry and Holmes were bound for India.

I’ve had a fascination with India for quite awhile, and I read several Indian authors regularly, so I was excited.  Then, a couple chapters in, I learned that Kimball O’Hara, the star of Kipling’s Kim, would be making an appearance.  Since Kim happened to be on my shelves, I decided to read it first.

My last acquaintance with Kiplin was in middle school, and I vaguely recall Rikki Tikki Tavi as a cool mongoose.  So I went into Kim with no expectations.  To be honest, the first forty pages were rough going.  I could tell that the bare bones of the story-an Irish orphan grows up with streets of India and is unusually clever-were good, but the writing style felt like I had wandered into an opium den.

Then, the British government gets hold of Kim and decides to train him to be a spy; meanwhile, Kim himself decides to wander around India.  Things got a lot more interesting, and I could barely tear myself away.  And then, just when I Another Elephantwas going to give Kipling major props, the last twenty pages got very hazy again.  I was quite disappointed.  It was still a fun read, and four-fifths of the book was really, really good.  Too bad the part that wasn’t good included the beginning and end!

Having read Kim, I immediately returned to The Game.  It was definitely one of my favourites of the series.  A middle-aged Kim has gone missing, so Mycroft has Russell and Holmes travel through India, into an obscure northern province with an unbalanced prince.  It had a ton of satifying intrigue, good supporting characters, and Russell at her cleverest.  A highly recommended read (and one that can stand alone, for those of you who haven’t read the series).

9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2007 6:44 pm

    I’ve actually started The Beekeepers Apprentice (on your suggestion), which is very good so far. I love books about India (the Raj period), so this will be good to look forward to!

  2. December 29, 2007 6:57 pm

    Danielle, yay! a convert! Beekeeper’s is a less-than-traditional form, since it’s more a collection of little cases than one big one. Still, it’s a fun one to read. :D

  3. December 29, 2007 8:40 pm

    I haven’t gotten to The Game yet and am eager to do so. Hate that the beginning and end aren’t up to par, but I guess that is bound to happen once in a while.

    I am a closet fan of Kipling’s and the closet is only because he has suffered from being branded politically incorrect. But Rikki Tikki and The Jungle Book and some of his poetry will never lose their charm for me.

  4. adevotedreader permalink
    December 30, 2007 1:28 am

    I love the Mary Russell series as well. It sounds like you have #8 in the series, Locked Rooms, to look forward to.
    Until Laurie R King writes another, I can only re-read the Sherlock Holmes stories!

    As for Kipling, I loved the story of Riki Tiki Tavi and The Jungle book but haven’t yet read anything else of his. I might tackle Kim one of these days, largely due to The Game’s and The English Patient’s references to it.

  5. December 30, 2007 2:59 pm

    Jenclair, The Game was great all the way through; Kim had the problem ending and beginning. So you still have a lot to look forward to! :) About the only poem of Kipling’s I know is that famous one with the ‘white man’s burden phrase.’

    ADevotedReader, welcome! I’ve actually read Locked Rooms (this review was written about a month ago) and very much enjoyed it. I talked about it a little more in Five Mysteries, a post somewhere down there. :)

  6. December 31, 2007 2:40 am

    I heart Laurie R. King. :)

    I actually read “Kim” because of King’s “The Game”. Am I geek or what?

  7. January 12, 2008 3:01 am

    Thanks for sharing these great thoughts. I’m bookmarking this for future reference. Some of these I already do, so the point resonated most strongly with me. Keep feeding the creativity.
    I am currently on holiday so, for this reason, I’ve nothing better to do than surf the web for travel ideas, lie around and update my blog. Well, more or less anyway.
    Doug C

  8. April 24, 2009 12:08 pm

    I started Kim and got so bored at the beginning. Too bad to hear that the end is the same. Maybe someday I’ll revisit it…


  1. Kim by Rudyard Kipling | A Good Stopping Point

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