Morocco in 1924 has political factions to spare. A rebellion in the Rif Mountains threatens to oust Spain from its protectorate in the north—a response to Spanish mistreatment of the local population, itself driven by the desire to avenge seven centuries of Moorish domination. The Germans worry about the iron mines barred to them by the revolt. South of the mountains, the French fight in vain to defend a line drawn without regard to traditional tribal or geographical boundaries. Britain fears that it will lose access to the Mediterranean if the French succeed. Meanwhile, the Rifi, under the leadership of the Abd-el-Krim brothers, are not the only leaders determined to rule an independent Morocco. The corrupt but charismatic Raisuli (al-Raisuni) has no intention of standing aside for a pair of military upstarts, however gifted.
Into this hotbed of unrest strolls a moving picture crew intent on filming the desert at sunrise. The crew includes Mary Russell, the wife and partner of Sherlock Holmes. When the great detective himself returns from a side trip to discover that Mary was last seen days before, heading into the mountains in the company of an unknown child, her unexplained absence pulls Holmes and Russell into a web of threads that criss-cross to create a true garment of shadows.
Mary Russell Holmes has her own blog, which she maintains with some regularity as new volumes of her adventures appear. She has been supplying her agent with manuscripts for some time: the first volume is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. To find out why Russell abandoned the hallowed halls of Oxford to work for Flytte Films, read The Pirate King, the previous book in the series. Either way, seek her out. You will not regret the decision.