The back story: a Companion
In the twenty years since the publication of the first Mary Russell memoir, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, many questions have been raised about that mysterious and previously unknown partner of Sherlock Holmes. Not the least of those questions has been: So why on earth are the books published as Laurie King novels?
Now, The Mary Russell Companion endeavors to provide something of an answer:
Laurie R. King, literary agent?
The Mystery of the Russell Memoirs
Being short tales of revelation,
deduction, and befuddlement
The all-important question is this: Are the Russell tales the memoirs of an elderly woman with an implausibly thrilling life, or novels by Laurie King? If they are in fact novels, all well and good—but if these books are actual autobiography, why is Ms King publishing them as if they were her own?
Beginning in 2009, the fifteenth anniversary of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, a series of posts on Mary Russell’s blog set out to unravel the story of how the manuscripts came to Ms. King—although perhaps “unravel” is not quite the right word, since the questions her posts introduced only added to the overall mystery.
A Case in Correspondence
The following year, King unveiled a collection of correspondences that had been sent her, which included vintage post cards, letters and carbon copies of letters, a telegram, and two newspaper clippings. Many of these pieces of correspondence appear to have been either placed in envelopes that were later lost (unlikely, given the otherwise complete nature of the collection) or else delivered by hand. The use of couriers may be understandable, when one considers the momentous gravity of the matters at stake.
For more about Mary Russell and her Memoirs, The Mary Russell Companion
is available here.