Or, Miss Mary Russell, as she prefers to be known. I’ve now read four of the books in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, by Laurie R. King, and I’m still enjoying them. I was a bit dubious about the concept of Sherlock Holmes having a wife at first, but the novels work very well, and don’t feel ‘forced’. Cleverly, unless I’ve missed a vital volume, King doesn’t actually describe the courtship or wedding of Russell and Holmes, which in way might seem odd, but I think it probably helps readers to accept the situation and who would want to describe Sherlock Holmes in love? It would be a bit demeaning (to him), I think. Reading the books, if it wasn’t stated that Holmes and Russell were married you might never guess they were, which I think is a good thing. Their relationship is, for the most part, portrayed a good friendship, and it never gets in the way of some good sleuthing.
Mary Russell is a good match for Holmes, in terms of intellectual ability and adventurous spirit, as well as anything else. She first meets Holmes when she’s about 15 and he’s at the beginnings of his retirement – the books are set after the adventures portrayed by Conan Doyle (about whom Holmes and Russell are quite scathing!). Dr Watson and Mrs Hudson appear briefly in some of the novels, and there are some nice references to and interweaving of the Conan Doyle stories throughout the series.
Laurie R. King is an American, but she does a pretty good job of writing about British folk and their ways, and has researched everything British very well, as far as I can tell, anyway. She has made Mary Russell half American, which lets her get some Americanisms in without them being jarring. From the feel of the novels, and the enthusiasm shown for her subjects, it seems like Ms King had a jolly good time writing the series (and hopefully continues to do so, as the series is ongoing) – they are knowingly written, sometimes with a twinkle in the eye, and not always to be taken too seriously, although they do deal with some serious subjects at times. On her website, King describes the Mary Russell books as ‘primarily…”entertainments”‘, and that is indeed what they are, in the best sense of the word.