Self has been reading this book for a few days, and she’s only at p. 30. Why? In general, her reading pace seems to have slowed (Six books a month is her average). Perhaps because the past holidays made her broody? She means, broodier than usual? Pandemic Year 2 was a rough year.
In the past 30 pages, Holmes and Russell are (ostensibly married, though they haven’t touched each other once — guess theirs is a marriage of the minds!) on a train. They’ve been on a train since p. 1. While our two leads are riding trains, self had ample opportunity to learn about:
- Castle Bran
- Queen Marie of Romania
In fact, she looked up pictures of Castle Bran on Instagram. It exists! And what a name for a castle. (She keeps thinking of Bram Stoker)
Then she googled “Queen Marie of Romania” and found that the Queen died of cirrhosis at 63. Oops. Not quite the image self got from Castle Shade! Her eldest son usurped the throne and made her a virtual prisoner. That must have broken her. She was a smart woman, much smarter than her husband. The Rumanians loved her. Life just isn’t fair.
Meanwhile, there is no indication from p. 30 that this train journey is approaching an end. Which is just fantastic, as our two mains get to discuss Mycroft (Though self hasn’t read a Sherlock Holmes mystery in decades, she does know who Mycroft is!). Oh, and here’s a passage about time passing on trains. Self really likes the way Laurie R. King describes it:
We rode the train — indeed, we rode a number of trains — for what seemed like days. We passed through cities, mountains, farmland, while the restless fever rose again and pulled me into sleep. I would wake, and follow Holmes into the restaurant car, then return to my seat and my stupor. Holmes would be there, then gone, then there again.
When I woke, countryside was passing by, bright fields beneath a blazing sun.Castle Shade, Chapter Six, p. 30