A Russell-King Twitter conversation

Saturday morning (or afternoon, or evening depending on your zone) Miss Russell and I will have a Twitter conversation that you, her reading public, may listen in on.  You can look at her feed or mine–@mary_russell or @LaurieRKing–and we’ll be using the hashtag #RussellKingChat.

Some years ago, my friend and co-editor Les Klinger valiantly attempted to conduct a similar conversation with her, which ended up in the very first of our “inspired by Sherlock Holmes” anthologies, A Study in Sherlock.  Here is how that one went:


Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger

The following is a transcript of a conversation conducted via Twitter between Leslie S. Klinger (whose Twitter address is @lklinger) and Mary Russell (@mary_russell) in the fall of 2011. Klinger is the editor of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. Russell is a theologian and investigator, who married Mr. Sherlock Holmes in 1921. Her memoirs appear as the “novels” of Laurie R. King–The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, et cetera.

(Les Klinger) @mary_russell Am editing w/LRKing “stories inspired by SH” & wd love an interview w/him or you. OK 4 LRK 2 giv me yr contact info?

(Mary Russell) @lklinger No, my literary agent Ms King does not have permission to give you my private contact information.

(LK) @mary_russell But wouldn’t u prefer to talk in private?

(MR) @lklinger “Private” conversations undergo changes in the mind of the interviewer. I prefer that such exchanges be on public record.

(LK) @mary_russell U want me 2 interview u on Twitter?

(MR) @lklinger I do not wish you to interview me at all, but clearly that is not an option.
(LK) @mary_russell We could call it a Twinterview.
(MR) @lklinger Mr Klinger, if you wish my participation, I must ask that you refrain from whimsy. And excessive abbreviations.
(LK) @mary_russell Sorry, Ms Russell. Okay, no whimsy, & I’ll keep the questions suitable for all eyes.
(MR) @lklinger I should hope so. And I prefer “Miss.” Now, may we proceed with this conversation? I have an experiment awaiting me.
(LK) @mary_russell First, how does Mr Holmes feel about having inspired the creativity of more than a century of crime writers?
(MR) @lklinger My husband does not care to discuss his feelings.
(LK) @mary_russell OK, how do YOU feel re his having inspired 100 yrs of crime writers? People other than (sorry must make this 2 Tweets)
(LK) @mary_russell—than Dr Watson were telling Holmes stories even as the originals were coming out. Why do u think they felt that urge?
(MR) @lklinger They admired Holmes. They wished to speculate about him. So they made up stories.
(LK) @mary_russell That’s it? Just a desire for more?
(MR) @lklinger Nicholas Meyer (your friend?) claimed that Dr Watson was such a great writer, others saw the stories as a challenge.
(LK) @mary_russell But NM was explaining why he wrote his books & doesn’t speak for others. I’m not even sure I believe his excuse.
(MR) @lklinger I said claimed. I met Meyer when he was young. I think he wrote them through frustration with a mere 60 published tales.
(LK) @mary_russell Does it bother u that writers make up fictions about your husband? Some of their stories are pretty outrageous.
(MR) @lklinger I was young when I realised that since Holmes was seen as fictional, by contagion I would be so viewed as well.
(MR) @lklinger Thus I have lived a long life with one foot in the real world and the other in the world of being perceived as a fiction.
(MR) @lklinger My own literary agent, Laurie King, claims that it is necessary to categorise my memoirs—mine!—as novels.
(MR) @lklinger And since I expect that you will now ask how that makes me “feel,” I will admit that the sensation of being fictional is—
(MR) @lklinger—is indeed peculiar. What our—Holmes’s and my—friend Neil Gaiman calls the sensation of being “the idea of a person.”
(LK) @mary_russell Neil is one of those contributing to this current volume—which we’re calling A Study in Sherlock.

(MR) @lklinger I grasp the reference to the initial Conan Doyle story, but this assumption of first-name familiarity jars, a bit.
(LK) @mary_russell Publishers, you know? This is the modern world. & you are after all American.
(MR) @lklinger Half American, and I retain very little of the accent, or attitudes.
(LK) @mary_russell Back 2 the questions. How did Dr Watson react? Some stories came out while his were still appearing in The Strand.
(MR) @lklinger Uncle John had many shouting matches down the telephone with Sir Arthur, demanding solicitors be hired. To no avail.
(LK) @mary_russell Well, we know what Shakespeare thought should be done with lawyers.
(MR) @lklinger That may be a bit drastic. Some of my best friends have lawyer relatives.
(LK) @mary_russell And, um, I’m a lawyer. At least during the day.
(MR) @lklinger I know you are a lawyer, Mr Klinger. That was my feeble attempt at humor. We are also very aware of your New Annotated
(MR) @lklinger—Annotated Sherlock Holmes. An excellent attempt at scholarship, which will do until Holmes’s own notes are published.
(LK) @mary_russell May I ask when that will be?
(MR) @lklinger No need to worry, Mr Klinger, it will be several more years.
(LK) @mary_russell Right. So Dr W was upset, but not Holmes?
(MR) @lklinger Holmes learned long ago to leave the shouting to Dr Watson. He finds it best to stay aloof of the literary world.
(LK) @mary_russell Some stories in this collection are less about Holmes than about people affected by Dr W’s stories. Do you approve?
(MR) @lklinger One might as well approve of breathing air, as of people falling under the spell of Sherlock Holmes, even secondhand.
(LK) @mary_russell So you do understand the appeal of the Sherlock Holmes stories over the ages?
(MR) @lklinger My dear young man, of course I understand their pull. I was captivated by the stories long before I met the man.

(LK) @mary_russell Speaking of captivation, may I ask about your relationship with Mr Holmes?

(MR) @lklinger No. Oh dear, Mr Klinger, ominous noises from the laboratory require my immediate attention. Good luck with your book.

(LK) @mary_russell Just another couple of questions, Miss Russell. May I ask, what is Mr Holmes doing these days?

(LK) @mary_russell Miss Russell?
(LK) @mary_russell Thank you, Miss Russell.



  1. Leslie S Klinger on August 28, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    I’m jealous that you will be “speaking” with Miss Russell again! Please give her my regards. I’m sure that she doesn’t approve of the additional anthologies that you and I have edited, and she’ll be further disappointed to learn that another one–“In League with Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon” will be out in December!

    • Laurie King on August 28, 2020 at 1:26 pm

      I think Miss Russell may be resigned to the unrelenting industry of Sherlockiana.

  2. Margaret Laing on August 28, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Miss Russell may be the only person (apart from her husband) who wants the industry to relent.

  3. Libby Dodd on August 29, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    This event makes me (almost) wish I used Twitter.
    Will a transcript be available?

  4. Laurie King on August 29, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    We’ll try and get a transcript, depending on the whims of the Twitter machine…

    • Libby Dodd on August 29, 2020 at 5:58 pm

      Thank you

  5. LI on August 30, 2020 at 1:32 am

    So disappointed. Joined twitter and went to Youtube to set things up. Did something not right? Any more Russell/King presentations down the road? If the Pres can do this, on principle, so can I! : )

    • Laurie King on August 30, 2020 at 11:31 am

      Hi Liann, sorry I can’t tell you what went wrong–but you should be able to find the conversation with the hashtag #RussellKingchat on Twitter. And if you don’t want to scroll down to the bottom and follow the progress up, in a few days we might be able to have the transcript together.

      Thank you, for the attempt–and yes, I’m sure we’ll do another one.

  6. Holly Adams on September 20, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Thank you for posting this prior ‘twinterview’! I have consumed it like perfect tea and shortbread.
    Enjoyed the recent one as well! Although as MR does not like them, they are delicious for the rest of us!

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