In 1915, long since retired from his crime-fighting days, Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybees on the Sussex Downs. Never did the Victorian detective think to meet an intellect matching his own- until his acquaintance with Miss Mary Russell, a young twentieth-century lady whose mental acuity is equaled only by her penchant for deduction, disguises, and danger. Under Holmes' s reluctant tutelage,
Russell embarks on a case involving a landowner' s mysterious fever and the kidnapping of an American senator' s daughter in the wilds of Wales. Then a near-fatal bomb on her doorstep- and another on Holmes' s- sends the two sleuths on the trail of a murderer who scatters bizarre clues and seems utterly without motive. The villain' s objective, however, is quite unequivocal: to end Russell and Holmes' s partnership- and then their lives.