Doyle’s locked rooms?
In the twenty years since The Beekeeper’s Apprentice introduced Mary Russell to the world, many questions have been raised about the good lady, and about her relationship with Sherlock Holmes, her religious beliefs, her Oxford college, what kind of car she drives—and just where on the Sussex Downs is that house of hers, anyway?
In a fervent (if tongue in cheek) commitment to the Game, and in celebration of the anniversary, this year I assembled all those questions and more under one electronic roof. Some of them even got answered.
First person ought to be the most intimate form of storytelling, but in fact, it is oddly distancing: How does one come to know a person while looking through their eyes? Even a mirror reverses reality.
And to add to the confusion, Locked Rooms blends all sorts of real-life people and verified events with those previously unknown to the world. Arthur Conan Doyle, for example, did visit San Francisco in 1923. (A plaque at 2151 Sacramento Street declares that it was “occupied by” Doyle, which is true, although the occupation was brief. More intriguing, the house is a stone’s throw away from Russell’s childhood home, just across Lafayette Park.) Later, Doyle did write a book about his world tour promoting Spiritualism (Our American Adventure). It was even published during the time Russell and Holmes were in San Francisco, when it was reviewed in the Chronicle. But if Sherlock Holmes was in San Francisco to read the review, how on earth did the newspapers not catch on?
If you’d like to read more about the Russell Memoirs “Game”, The Mary Russell Companion
is available here.