May q & a II

Okay, enough questions for May, save any others for June (or July?)

Q: Erika says, I’m sure you’ve been asked this multiple times…I recently finished “A Grave Talent” – did you have any artist’s work in mind when you created the character of Vaun Adams? I imagined her work to be as that of a Northwestern Frida Kahlo. Am I off-track?

A: I think of Vaun’e2’80’99s work as being Bouguereau with soul. More representational than Kahlo, the beauty of Vaun’e2’80’99s images are stressed several times, and are the reason she isn’e2’80’99t taken seriously by all critics.

Q: Meredith wants to know, (adding, I’m going to do this as non-spoilingly as I can muster)–There was this character in Locked Rooms that you told us we would hear more about, but in LOCK it didn’t happen (& I asked you about it).

A: Um, sorry, I need another clue.

Q: L Crampton notes, I’m reading my delighted way through your work, Laurie, and am pretty sure I spotted Lord Peter Wimsey in A Letter of Mary?? Was that him? I love your interweaving of time and place and contemporary (to the characters) personalities, whether in fact or fiction. Delicious.

A: That was indeed Lord Peter, although since my editor didn’e2’80’99t catch the reference and I was completely wet behind the ears when it came to the minutiae of literary theft, nobody thought to ask permission from the people who hold the Dorothy Sayers copyrights. I had a stern letter demanding that I remove the reference, although when I pointed out that 1) Actually, the appearance was minor and could have been any of a thousand junior officers wounded in the War, 2) changing it would necessitate an explanatory note on the back of the title page saying why the paperback didn’e2’80’99t correspond with the hardback, and 3) I would be happy to offer them a payment and my personal thanks, they graciously backed down.

However, they didn’e2’80’99t take it so far as to ask me to write a Sayers sequel’e2’80’a6

And an anonymous answer to my query yesterday, about researching the difference between the US and UK systems of university: As a reference librarian, I can’t pass up a reference question …. Re: info on UK Universities: I went to and got the Oxford home page. Clicked on FAQ, History and Structure, and went to question on Relationship between colleges and the university. I learned a lot — hadn’t realized what I didn’t know. It doesn’t answer the part of the question re: going down/being sent down though. One could also go to Cambridge’s site: I got into Oxford’s originally by googling Oxford University, so one could also google ( Cambridge University.

And finally, Q: Does anyone have any information about when the next Mary Russell book is coming out? Thanks.

A: THE ART OF DETECTION contains faint traces of Russell, visible to the cognoscenti, and major signs of her detecting spouse. In 2007, TOUCHSTONE will be out, set near Russell in time and place, but without direct reference to her (although some of the women in it she would like a great deal.) But in 2008, we will see Russell and Holmes returning home to Britain, and possibly find out then about ‘e2’80’9cHolmes’e2’80’99 lovely, lost son.’e2’80’9d

Posted in


  1. Anonymous on May 4, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    I’m looking forward to all of your books, but am especially pleased that the next Russell will give some info on Holmes’s lost son.


  2. Anonymous on May 4, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    curse it, I can’t believe I missed the Lord Peter reference.

  3. Anonymous on May 4, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Wait, no!!! We have to wait 2 years for another Russell book? I am sad now. Weah.

  4. Nikolai on May 4, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    Ok I caught the Lord Peter reference, and I know you said no more questions (I can wait ’til June if I must, but this has been bothering me for AGES!!) , but how do Holmes and Russell know Lord Peter??

  5. kait b. roe on May 5, 2006 at 1:21 am

    Thank you thank you thank you! I didn’t know I could look forward even more to a Russell book, but you have piqued my interest. I am so excited about Holme’s lovely, lost son and a new Russell adventure that I will be content to wait for both… of course having two new books of yours in the meantime will keep me going. Thanks again,
    kait b. roe

  6. Chris on May 5, 2006 at 9:28 am

    I’m sure the Lord P reference would have passed me by when I read A Letter of Mary, if I han’t been forewarned in the acknowledgement of the charcter at the front of the (UK) edition!

    Shame on me.


  7. Anonymous on May 5, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    “But in 2008, we will see Russell and Holmes returning home to Britain, and possibly find out then about ‘Holmes’e2’80’99 lovely, lost son.'” Oh no! 2 more years??? Please, please, more plot hints!

  8. Bronwyn on May 5, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    Oooh, I can wait two years with bated breath for such an interesting premise. Can’t wait, Laurie! 🙂

  9. Marianne McA on May 5, 2006 at 11:44 pm

    Just an aside on ‘being sent down’ – I looked up ‘down’ in the shorter OED to see if the phrase was mentioned – which it isn’t – but it does give the word in that sense:
    down: to a place regarded as lower in position; e.g. in the direction of a current; with the wind; from the capital to the country; away from university; from the House of Lords to the House of Commons.
    down: at a place or in a situation regarded as lower in position; e.g. at a distance from the capital, not at one’s university.

    Which doesn’t particularly help, but I was charmed by the notion that the House of Commons is thought to be of less importance than the House of Lords.

  10. Anonymous on May 7, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    huzzah! that tantalizing comment about holmes ‘lost’ son has been the subject of a lot of discussion,so make it good! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll survive the next two years…I can’t wait!!

  11. Vicki Larson on May 8, 2006 at 1:28 pm

    The last post amuses me because it is so much like my reaction to life. When you get a bit advanced in years, you always feel pleased to have lived to see another spring, or another harvest, or…. Now I will add another Russell book. Sweet.

  12. Anonymous on May 8, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    Re: going down / sent down:

    Going (coming) down: person finished university (i.e., graduated.)

    Sent down: person kicked out of university, perhaps for a term, perhaps permanently.

  13. Writergirlrants on May 8, 2006 at 8:33 pm

    I have to say, I laughed like a hyena when Lord Peter jumped and turned around and called Mary “old girl”…. brilliant!

  14. Anonymous on May 12, 2006 at 12:19 am

    I can’t resist a tangent in line with the above blog replies. I, too, laughed out loud when his lordship (in early silly-ass-about-town phase) called Russell “old girl.” Such a treat. Back to my previous obscure point. In this context it’s safer: in the blog weeks ago you spoke about the “quickening” of the character of Belinda Birdsong and said we would hear more. Might some of this be mentioned in TAOD? thanks–Meredith T.

  15. Chet on June 30, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    P.S. I thought that was quite stunning that Mr. Holmes nearly swallowed his teeth when Mrs. Holmes took off her hat. Jolly good that! I also dug it when Mary had to point out to the Beekeeper that she was a girl.

Leave a Comment