I became, in other words, more like Holmes than the man himself: brilliant, driven to a point of obsession, careless of myself, mindless of others, but without the passion and the deep-down, inbred love for the good in humanity that was the basis of his entire career. He loved the humanity that could not understand or fully accept him; I, in the midst of the same human race, became a thinking machine.
And you, Russell. How was your day?”
“Highly satisfactory, thank you, from beginning to end. Despite the fact that it’s between terms in Oxford, I have sixty-seven writing samples. I also picked up the information the colonel wanted. Bought two books, one of them out of print since 1902. Had a nice chat with a few friends over a pie and a pint, and met an odd man named Tolkien, a reader in English literature at Leeds who has a passion for early Anglo-Saxon poetry and runes and such. And, oh yes, I found where Miss Ruskin was on that missing Tuesday afternoon.
—  Mary Russell meets J.R.R. Tolkien, in Laurie R. King’s A Letter of Mary

In honor of BSB’s Femme Friday featuring Mary Russell, I thought I would share with you all the shining pinnacle of my existence: the day I got to A) Cosplay Mary Russell and B) Interview Laurie R King, the author of the Mary Russell series, at Bay Area Sherlock Con.

To say I was a nervous nerd wreck would be an understatement.

Photo Credit: tryingtodeduceyou

Fake Movie Meme: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Based on the novel by Laurie R. King

Adroit and orphaned teenager Mary Russell (Eleanor Tomlinson) becomes friends with the retired Sherlock Holmes (Daniel Day-Lewis) when she physically stumbles over him in the Sussex Downs in 1915. From that moment on the two take on an unforeseen relationship, with Russell first learning his various methods of deduction through an informal but profound apprenticeship, and then through a full partnership when they take on the case of a little girl’s abduction. But Russell’s education and Holmes’s experience are put to the test when an unknown bomber threatens their lives and everything they hold dear. Also starring Jodhi May, Oded Fehr, and Jonathan Pryce as Doctor Watson.

I had just begun to pin my hair back together when a light tap at the door startled me.
“Saint George here, slayer of dragons, at your service,” drawled a light male voice.
I opened it, and my rescuer slipped in.
“I thought I’d check to see if my services were still needed, though short of a bigamous elopement, I cannot see how I might keep those two from the dinner party.”
“Heaven forbid. No, we’re going, as soon as I’ve taken my leave of the Westburys. Do you think you could—”
“A glass of bubbly under the rose bower is the most I can manage, I’m afraid.”
“That would be perfect. Thank you, you dear man, you’ve saved me from a potentially difficult situation.”
“The salvation of fair ladies is the entire purpose of my class, in case you had not realised. When ladies stop being in need of rescue, all like me will fade away.”
“Like King Arthur, waiting to come again when England has need of him?”
“Good Lord, what a dreadful thought. Give me an honest retirement anytime. Speakin’ of which, kindly present my greetings and regards to the gentleman with the pipe.”
“I will. Come down for a weekend when this is all over, and I’ll tell you all the sordid details. There’s even an immensely early manuscript for you to admire.”
“A first edition?”
“Without a doubt.”
“Interestin’. I shall hold you to the offer. Well, it’s been loverly, ducks, but two other ladies await my escort services. Give me five minutes to remove the dragons from downstairs, and the coast, as the fogbound lighthouse keeper said to his wife, will be clear.”
“Thank you,” I said again, and impulsively leant forward and kissed his cheek. He very nearly blushed, then busied himself with cleaning his monocle with his silk handkerchief and screwing it energetically over his eye.
“Yes, well, ta and all that. Cheerio.”
—  Lord Peter Wimsey’s cameo (part 5/6) in Laurie R. King’s A Letter of Mary
Reassuring, my ass

“Are you quite certain you feel up to it, Russell?” Holmes pressed.

In answer, I held my hand outstretched over the breakfast table. Steady as a rock, I noted proudly, and then noticed for the first time what Holmes was wearing.

“Where did you find the dressing gown, Holmes?”

“Lent to me by the good Mr Quimby [Mary’s servant].”

“Good of him. I was afraid they might be offended, an unchaperoned female and a male guest.”

“I told the missus [Mrs Quimby, Mary’s other servant] I was a bodyguard, and she had no further qualms. Women find me reassuring.”

In the general run of things, Holmes was as reassuring as a shark, but I said nothing, applying myself to the eggs and the toast that tasted of actual food again.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King (A Mary Russell Adventure)


“The ladies are silly but sweet, and you won’t have to think of topics of conversation. The ears belong to a Colonel Dennis Edwards, who currently employs Miss Mary Small as his secretary.”
“Edwards, you say? You do move with strange fish, my dear. I will demand payment for this onerous deed, you know. Which are my victims?” he added, peering alertly through the open door. I pointed them out to him, and he sighed. “Yes, we have met. A policeman’s lot is not an ‘appy one. Adieu, my lady, and if I do not survive this day, tell my mother that I loved her.”

He screwed his monocle into place with a gesture of buckling on armour, then glided smoothly out into the crowd. I watched with amusement as he greeted his hostess, kissed the fingers of a matched brace of dowagers, shook various hands, greeted the colonel and said something that made him laugh, scooped up three glasses of champagne from a passing tray, and finally, with the ease of a champion sheepdog, cut out his two victims from the flock. Within four minutes from leaving my side, he was strolling down the terrace stones, one fluttering female on each arm, and I stepped out to take a plate. Rule, Britannia, with an aristocracy like that.

—  Lord Peter Wimsey’s cameo (part 4/6) in Laurie R. King’s A Letter of Mary
Foreshadowing in TAB and HLV

Yes, we’ve all read the theories about Janine being related to Moriarty, but what evidence is there for that?  


Besides their hair, eyes, skin, accent, and attraction to Sherlock Holmes, Janine has ties to another character in a different story.

“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” is a novel written by Laurie R. King about a retired Sherlock Holmes living in Sussex Downs as a beekeeper.  He and his young detective apprentice solve a mystery concerning kidnapped children.  The villain of the end of the story is Patricia, the daughter of Moriarty. 

But what does an obscure Holmes spin-off have to do with TAB and HLV?

When Janine visits Sherlock in the hospital in HLV, she first shows him all the tabloids she’s been in and how she destroyed his image for profit.  She says she’s bought a cottage from all that money. “Where’s the cottage?” - “Sussex Downs” - “Nice” - “It’s gorgeous.  There are beehives, but I’m getting rid of those.”

While trying to name the case of the Abominable Bride with Watson in the last scene of TAB, Holmes suggests “The Monstrous Regiment” - the novel directly after “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by King is called “A Monstrous Regiment of Women”.

In the end credits of TAB, Janine’s last name has changed to “Donlevy”.  Patricia, Moriarty’s daughter in King’s novel, has the last name “Donleavy”.  But they misspelled that! They’re missing an “A”!  Did you notice they misspelled the word ‘captain’ in a newspaper clipping in TAB? They spelled it ‘captin’ - missing an “A”.