In 1994, we were greeted with something new and different.
Laurie R. King introduced to the world the life and times of Mary Russell.
I imagine it began with a ‘What if’ thought in the mind of Ms. King, when she was contemplating sticking her literary toe into the waters of Holmesian fiction. She clearly wanted to do something new and untried. Hence my ‘what if’. “What if, Holmes did retire, and what if he encountered during this time of a retirement someone who could become his protégé and apprentice?” Interesting. But there is more. “What if that person was younger than Holmes?” Interesting. “What if that person was much younger?” More intriguing. “What if that person was 3 times as young as Holmes at that first meeting?” Very daring! “What if that person was a young woman?”
(I believe her what if was more like: ‘What if Sherlock Holmes was a Victorian Woman….’)
But, would it work?
In the hands of Ms. King it did and it does. Thus, we were given a look in 1994 at Mary Russell who was to become ‘The Bee Keepers Apprentice’, in the first novel concerning the life and times of Russell and Holmes.
For some this may sound like heresy.
For some this may read like heresy.
But I have been following Ms. King’s chronicles of Ms. Russell and they are to me…canonical.
Ms. King has Russell being born on January 2, 1900, probably to make it easy to determine her age. Ms. King then audaciously moves the established age and birth of Holmes from the ‘canonical’, via the scholarship of William Stuart Baring-Gould who had placed Holmes birth in January 6, 1854, from that year to the year 1861. Claiming that Watson and Doyle both agreed that an older Holmes would appeal and be more acceptable to the readers of the published fictionalized accounts of Holmes’s life.
This would make Russell 15 and Holmes 54.
Ms. King clearly adores her Ms. Russell and lovingly and skillfully brings her to life on the pages of the chronicles of Ms. Russell’s life as presented by Ms. King. In the hands of someone with less skill and talents, this could have been a disaster.
Ms. King manages to pull it off and the books just keep on getting better and better.
You should care of about Ms. Russell if you care about Holmes.
Gary Jaron's musings.
In my High School Art Department someone had made an ornate sign on hung it on the wall that read: 'Ignore this sign completely.' A paradox couched in sarcasm and irony. This blog is for random musings on anything and everything that comes into my head.