Laurie King has done it again! I’ve just finished reading the latest installment in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes saga, and now find myself in that listless state of existence that follows the conclusion of an exceptionally well-crafted yarn. With every new installment in this series I find myself thinking that Ms. King has outdone herself. How could she possibly top the last book, and yet, somehow, she manages to, time and time again. This particular adventure is a twist on The Adventure of the Gloria Scott.
Ms. King departs from her traditional structure, and we find this story coming to life mostly through the words and thoughts of a character who has, up to this point, been more tangential than anything else: the quietly indomitable Mrs. Hudson. As a veteran reader of this series, I must admit that I have not often found myself wondering about Clara Hudson. I enjoyed her depiction within the greater framework of the series; she was a wonderful texture, an integral aspect of the Sherlockian mythos, so necessary to any retelling. Yet, The Murder of Mary Russell answers so many questions that I didn’t even know I had about Mrs. Hudson, illustrating to me just how important she is to everything Holmes-related.
So often, women like Clara Hudson are written off in stories and histories because of their social stations. On the surface, Mrs. Hudson is only a housekeeper, and we have been conditioned with the expectation that housekeepers rarely achieve remarkable things outside of their jobs. Although we know this preconceived notion to be incredibly reductionist and unrealistic. Read The Murder of Mary Russell for the chance to immerse yourself in a fantastically driving, well-written, and suspenseful story, but also, to remember that people are far more than what they present on the surface.
TEA PAIRING: Pair this adventure with a strong black tea like English Breakfast. You’ll need the fortification afforded by this hearty blend as everything you thought you knew is turned on its head.