Happy Anniversary, Russell & Holmes

On this day 99 years ago, two friends of ours were wed.

February 17, 1921

Marriage, to Sherlock Holmes?  He was the least marriageable man I knew.  On the other hand, we were already partners.  And having that piece of paper—that otherwise meaningless piece of paper—would undoubtedly ease such matters as border crossings, hotel rooms, and claiming one another’s body in the event of a fatal mishap.  Marriage would also keep me from the temptations of pure academia, a world that, especially for a woman, could become terribly enclosed.

Marriage—this marriage—would ensure that I was never bored.

So, it was a rational decision, a sensible choice for two intelligent and level-headed people, the obvious next step in our partnership.

* * *

The actual marriage proposal had come when my head was spinning (having been knocked unconscious, deliberately—by Holmes.) and his head was dripping wet, grease-clotted, and thoroughly scorched from the fiery, mid-Thames boat wreck that claimed the life of our most recent villainous opponent.  Miraculous survival, one’s own and of one’s most significant attachment, has a way of adding its own spin to the head.  Or perhaps it was just, as I mentioned, the concussion.  In any case, when he emerged from the filthy surface of the Thames, there followed an astonishing, unexpected, and remarkably… stimulating physical encounter, right there on the docks.  Namely, we kissed.

* * *

And there, dear reader, I married the only man who mattered in my life.

Reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of…well, perhaps not of God, but certainly of prowling cousins with shot-guns, we vowed that we knew of no impediment to our joining; we swore that we would love, comfort, honour, and keep, in sickness and health; and we entered into the state that was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

(Did I imagine it, that brief glance Holmes shot towards the portrait that hung beside the door, as the vows were being said?  I do not think I did.)

Our Welsh friend romped us through a nice brisk service, trimming away any references to obedience, skipping over the part with the rings (we’d both forgot about rings) and glossing over all mentions of children, Christ and the Church, or St Paul (indeed, pretty much the remainder of the Service.)  He fell to the temptation of acoustics and sang his portions of Psalm, although his voice was throttled down considerably from what he so clearly wanted.  At the end, Mrs Hudson was in tears, Dr Watson was bright pink, the vicar was beaming, and even Mycroft looked moved as he reached inside his breast pocket for a pen.

We hadn’t even been interrupted by gunfire.

* * ** * *

From “The Marriage of Mary Russell,” in Mary Russell’s War. If you want a signed

copy, you could ask Bookshop Santa Cruz to send you one.


  1. Vicky Denison on February 17, 2020 at 10:08 am

    This very thing is the secret, that I won’t tell anyone else! Makes the stories so much more delicious, and I am beyond delighted to find a group of people who are as entertained as I!
    Happy Anniversary, Mary and Sherlock…you old love birds!

  2. Janet on February 17, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Happy anniversary!

  3. jjjeanie on February 17, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Congratulations, and may your partnership continue to entertain–both yourselves and us, your adoring readers.

  4. Sj on February 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    What a wonderful thing to celebrate. Happy Anniversary Holmes and Russell.

  5. Anne on February 17, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    I had totally forgotten! Happy 99th! May live forever in our hearts!

  6. Cleon on February 17, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Happy Anniversary!!!!

  7. Linda on February 17, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Happy 99th wedding anniversary to you both. I look forward to many more of your sleuthing adventures.

  8. Ronda on February 17, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    Mazel tov

  9. Anne Finnerup on February 18, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Happy 99th anniversary to the classiest and most brilliant detective partners that ever lived!

  10. Michelle A on April 16, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Which book does the proposal occur in? I can Te recall the circumstances, but not the book

    • Laurie King on May 5, 2021 at 12:02 am

      The second one, Monstrous Regiment. If you can call that a proposal…

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