Mary Russell: My Story, Part 5

Want to get an early copy (ARC) of THE LANGUAGE OF BEES, and see your name on the Thanks page of the next Laurie R. King novel to boot? All you have to do is dream up a witty phrase that Mary Russell might have said, and I’ll insert it into Russell 10 (currently working its way up to 120 pages). That’s right, week 7 of the Fifteen Weeks of Bees (beginning March 16th) will have a contest for the best Russellism. Sharpen your pencils and your wits, enter early and as often as you like, and you, too, can put your words into Miss Russell’s mouth.

Now, it has come to my attention that certain of my readers who are wont to wear the 221B pin (to mark their dedication to the person of Sherlock Holmes) have taken umbrage at some of the wording in Mary Russell’s ongoing MySpace postings, namely, her reference to the Sussex invaders as a pack of ravening Sherlockians.

I hasten to say that this sentiment is that of a short-tempered old lady who has had her sleep disturbed, not by Laurie R. King herself. Indeed, some of my best friends are Sherlockians. Not, however, the ravening variety: those I know are unfailingly polite and as sweet-tempered as one might ask.

The tale thus far: Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, are peacefully at work, one day in the spring of 1992, when a press of eager faces at the window of their Sussex home reveals that dread invader, a ravening pack of Sherlockians. To the rescue rides Patrick, grandson of Russell’s original farm manager, armed with his shotgun and farm dogs, scattering the Sherlockians (Americans all, of course) to the four winds, or at least as far as the local pub.

Episode 5:

Holmes eventually came to a safe place to pause in his ongoing chemical experiment and toddled down the stairs to see what the uproar was. The cook set before us a pot of powerful tea and a plate of scones flavoured with outrage; Patrick leant his gun inside the door and joined us, trusting to his dogs to raise an alarm; we sat around the kitchen table for a council of war.

Holmes and I had long been prepared for this day when his past came to roost on our heads. In fact, given a mere thirty seconds’ warning, we were equipped to walk out with the essentials of life on our persons, and disappear permanently.

This, we thought, would not require such extreme measures. Instead, we planned how best to instigate our second defence, which we had come up with some years earlier when the local amateur Eastbourne Dramatic Society put on a production of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The gentleman playing the lead, a local solicitor of barely forty, did a competent (if somewhat flambouyant) job of acting Holmes; later, we invited him to the house and arranged with him a smaller-scale dramatic rendition of the Great Detective. The thought of acting a pseudo-Holmes in place of the actual Holmes appealed to his droll, Sussex-born sense of humour, and he agreed to be available, if and when we called on him.

It was time to raise the curtain on our idiosyncratic one-man show.


  1. Beryl Hanna on March 3, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Never heard of Outrage seasoning. Are you being ‘cute’?

    • Laurie King on March 4, 2009 at 7:20 am

      I think Russell is trying to be cute, yes.

  2. Carlina on March 3, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    I didn’t take any offense to it :). I figured Ms. Russell was just a little flustered and overwhelmed.

    Look forward to the one-man show! AND GOODNESS RUSSELL X at 120 pages! Wow!

    I think I have some Russellisms as well as one Holmes saying. I’d really like to share the latter with you, because I think its perhaps even relevant in these times. If you’re interested I’ll enter it along with the Russell stuff.

    Hope your family is well and all the best!

  3. Mark Wilson on February 26, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I’m puzzled. Russell is 92 in 1992. Holmes is about 35-40 years older: when she is 21, she comments that Holmes is almost 3 times her age, so at least late 50’s. So Holmes would be 127 to 132 years old in 1992! Really? And so spry Russell feels no need of mentioning his infirmities, although she mentions her own “advanced” age several times! What am I missing?

    • Laurie King on February 26, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Yes, this is all a part of playing the Game. We welcome fantasy, in Russell’s world…

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