All Sherlock Holmes, all the time

I’ve just been writing the answers to a set of interview questions Picador are putting in the back of their new editions of Beekeeper’s Apprentice and Monstrous Regiment of Women next October, along with their suggested Reading Group discussion topics. The questions were actually fairly demanding, as interview questions go, and I had to work at getting them right.

(Which reminds me, if the nice Swedish lady who sent me a postcard about an interview wants to try again, this time make sure the address isn’t in the bottom half inch of the postcard, where it gets obscured by the Post Office’s machine.)

Where was I? Oh right. Questions like:

7. Mary Russell not only has progressive politics, she also has a sex life. What inspired you to bring this dimension to her character, how have you managed to allow the frisson without offending traditional fans of Holmes?

To which I could only answer:
Mary Russell has a sex life? With whom? Does her mother know about this?

Oh, you mean those steamy scenes where Holmes fiddles with her fingers or brushes her long hair? Surely you know that, when it comes to describing sex, less is more.

Anyway, in the process of doing these interviews, I realized that it had been a while since I did a Holmes blog.

Then I thought, Have I ever done one? I don’t remember if I did—probably I figured that, having posted pieces on the web site about Holmes, about Arthur Conan Doyle, and about my version of the Holmes chronology, I didn’t need to post a blog about the man. To say nothing of the fact that Russell herself is nowblogging, saving me the trouble of speaking for her. Although she seems to be having some reservations about my role of literary agent…

One question that often comes up is why I’m forever separating Russell from Holmes in their investigations, since most of the really fun scenes are when the two of them are together. I’d have thought it was self-evident, that it’s too hard to write the fun scenes so I space them out with a lot of other stuff. What am I, Dave Barry or something?

There are other reasons, of course. With Holmes always looking over her shoulder, Russell would either not get a chance to do the investigations on her own, or else she would turn around and murder him, which might bring Laurie King a moment’s notoriety but might also displease my editor.

Besides, if they were always together, I wouldn’t have had a chance to write Holmes on his own for The Art of Detection, and that would have been a pity.

And before I forget, if you’d like to read that paper I gave to the Baker Street Irregulars back in January, the BSI Journal will be publishing it in June. Domestic subscriptions are $26.50/yr ($29 for foreign addresses), but single copies are a bargain at $7. Orders in US funds can be sent to–
The Baker Street Journal
PO BOX 465
Hanover, PA 17331

Tell ‘em Laurie sent you.

Posted in


  1. Tori Lennox on March 25, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    I love Mary’s blog!

  2. Scott on March 25, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Just to be clear, the Baker Street Journal does not sell individual copies of the current year’s issues, only back issues.

  3. Carlina on March 25, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Wait! I thought Russ had a sex life or have I been imaging it? We are all we aware of Mr. Holmes’ erotic kiss in MROW. Or my favourite…”the pottering beekeeper…shall I shave?” in LOM. How about in the Moor? I could have sworn there are…*clear throat and chuckles to self remembering Holmes indulging in some fancies on the moor*

    Holmes blogging would be interesting for us Holmes fans. I can read his drawl now. *hides in corner* It would be a hoot! “Oh BLAST! How on earth to I post this whimsical comment! Russell!”

    I understand why you must keep them separate. It makes it even more exciting when you bring them back together (to me anyway). Plus it adds another facet to your stories. Some of your fans would say that there is not enough *ahem* romance between the two…that they are not like a married couple…but as I re-read, I begin to see the contrary. The romance is there, it is just brilliantly implied. I just hope the next one will be a little more upbeat than LR.

    Now about that Holmes blog….there are numerous Holmes’s on myspace…interesting Russell has not “met” one yet! Perhaps another could appear and begin to blog?

  4. Anonymous on March 26, 2007 at 5:02 am

    The Baker Street Blog has an announcement about the release of the Spring Baker Street Journal, including a nice mention of the “Meeting Sherlock Holmes” article.

  5. Hanna Wallsten on March 26, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Thank you for refering to me as a “nice Swedish lady”! I will try again, be sure of that. And hereby I do. The problem was that I had no other means of geting in contact with you than trough a postcard. I should have known the postal workers to make a mark…

  6. WDI on March 26, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    One of the things I love about the Russell books is that the relationship between Russell and Holmes includes a dimension of romance along with the partnership. That, to me, is what the hair-brushing etc. really intimates, and that is far more precious than mere sex — especially for a pair of such intensely cerebral people. And, of course, the fact that those scenes aren’t running rampant throughout the books imbues each with more meaning when it does appear. Kudos!

  7. Roxanne on March 26, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    I have a male friend who says that it is the “little things” that end up mattering most in a relationship anyway–like the brushing of hair or the rubbing of feet or the unbidden cup of tea. I have absolutely nothing against sex, but I tend to agree with him. At the end of the day, interesting conversation and someone willing to scratch your back are what really matters …

    Hi, Scott. Nice to “see” you again. And if I never properly thanked you for your assistance with obtaining tickets for the BSI Distinguished Speaker Lecture this past January–Thank You!

  8. Angie on March 29, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I love it! Thanks for continuing the saga in a literary way. The way you portray Holmes and Russell’s relationship propels the reader to keep forging ahead for more instances of togetherness. What a great thing to do!

  9. Anonymous on March 29, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Rats to Romance only on Laurie’s site. Bravo!

    I do get a little nervous regards speaking to one another…we call that cross talk in other places.

    So, Laurie we must look to you to tell us if we step over a line. No offense intended. But it is such fun.

    WDI, I live in Santa Fe, NM and our mesa property is above the Pecos River south on HWY 3 on the way to Villanueva. I should love to chat directly. But can’t imagine the protocol. I’ll leave my e-mail address shall I:

    Now folks, I really must say this. We all kill all the time, well meaning or not. But let us not kill gratituiously.

    Staight strychnine is quite simply one of the most irresponsible and unnecessary means of ‘pest’ control we ever have had the misfortune to administer.

    Gang, it’s a food chain out there. Everybody eats everybody else, Strychnine laced or not.

    If another creature eats, and be assured someone will, a death by strychnine carcass, then well they die too.

    Please, please let us not suggest such wholesale slaughter. We need all creatures great and small so no killing more than we mean, need or must.

    Laurie remains the most skilled author I’ve read to date at subtle sexual encounter which is by far the most erotic. And likely far the most difficult to write well.

    And that’s not a pitch to be allowed cross talk if Laurie objects.


  10. Carlina on April 1, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    *GASPS* No April Fool’s joke this year! *gasps yet again*

  11. Ela on May 31, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I was recently introduced to Laurie King’s Holmes and Russell novels and have become addicted to them.

    I appreciate Laurie King’s subtle handling of Holmes’ and Russell’s romance. It is their appreciation and respect for each other when they are in each other’s company, as well as the little things they do for each other. And the eroticism is there….just not in your face. In The Moore is a scene where Laurie King describes Russell’s reaction to Holmes appearing slim and appealing in a jet suit with a snowy front and (I am paraphasing, can’t remember the exact quote) “One thing led to another, as things are wont to happen in a marriage….” That is enough. Just as the scene in Gone With the Wind when Rett Butler carries Scarlet up the stairs…you know where this is leading. And the imagination is much more erotic than having everything spelled out.

Leave a Comment