Mary Russell’s Story — Part 14

Thank you to everyone who came by to say hi in Baltimore last night. I hope the kind people near Richmond, VA will do the same tonight when I visit the Meadowdale Library. I will also be at the Harvard Coop Bookstore on Thursday evening, along with Les Klinger. Hope to see you there. (Details of both events are here.)

And our story continues… with only two installments left to go, Russell and Holmes have been pursued by a pack of pushy American Sherlockians, from their Sussex home to Oxford. Last week, our heroes thought they had lost their pursuers in the chaos of Oxford’s May-Day celebrations, but their luck was not to hold.

Mary Russell’s Story


I do not know if our American pursuers were actively watching for us, or if they had decided to make the best of their visit and take in the May Day festivities while waiting for us to emerge, but at the corner of the Botanic Gardens, where Rose Lane comes into the High, the straining silence was broken by loud American accents: “Hey! There he is!”

And the hunt was on again.

I spoke in Holmes’ ear, ordering him to abandon me. He hesitated, being neither cowardly nor disloyal, but even he could see the logic in my suggestion. He bent down enough to vanish in the crowd, while I appropriated a nearby furled umbrella (in any English crowd, there will always be a man who doubts the clear sky overhead) and tripped one attacker, jabbed the second in the stomach, and nudged the third into the large,intoxicated Rugby player beside him.

With that trio temporarily disposed of, and making certain they had seen me, their unlikely assailant, I pushed into the crowd, crossing to the Magdalene side of the High and making for Magdalene Bridge.

Halfway across, I ducked down to make my way back up the human stream, ducking into the grounds of the Botanic Garden and making for the river. Holmes had located a punt, worked its anchoring pole out of the bottom, and was waiting for me. I heard a shout behind me—English, not American—and tumbled into the boat. He pushed off, and I turned to face the boat’s irate owners.

“Terribly sorry,” I called to them. “There’s a trio of Americans just behind you who said they’d be happy to repay you for the hire cost. You take it up with them, there’s a good lad.”

A sweet old lady in a boat; how could he argue with me?


  1. Merrily on May 5, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Oh, rapture, I knew the punt would show up sooner or later!

  2. Chris on May 5, 2009 at 7:53 am


  3. Chris on May 5, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Back again, a few hours later – home from work and YES! My copy of Language of Bees is here!
    Have a fantastic ‘rest of tour’, and a ‘rest’ afterwards 🙂

  4. Judy Allen on May 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Thank you so much for being here at Meadowdale Library this evening. Your reading was great, and your patience in answering all our our questions was amazing. Thank You Again.

  5. Judy Allen on May 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Oh, I will send you the pictures we took tomorrow.

  6. Kit on May 5, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Thank you for coming, I hope the cookbook won’t take up too much space.

  7. TheMadLibrarian on May 6, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I have FINALLY put hands on the last locally available copy of TLOB, and devoured it messily. You are a very Naughty Person is all I have to say about the ending!

Leave a Comment