If you think Sherlock Holmes is marvelous, but vastly benefits from the presence of a smart, determined woman willing to call him out, then Laurie King’s first Holmes and Russel book is definitely for you.
Cocaine, communism, and adventure in 1920s Melbourne! The Honorable Phryne Fisher (glamorous, free-spirited, handy with a pistol) is on the case of smugglers and poisoners, with her ever-expanding entourage in tow.
Enola Holmes’ mother has vanished, and her brothers are determined to send her to boarding school. Add in a daring disguise, a kidnapped marquess, and a series of knife-wielding villains, and you’ve got the first book in the Enola Holmes series. These are witty, wildly entertaining children’s books which feature a really fantastic protagonist and aren’t afraid of confronting issues of gender, class, prejudice, and Very Seedy Characters in Victorian London.
Mr. Holmes (in theaters now!). In 1947, struggling with memory loss, an aging Sherlock Holmes comes out of retirement to revisit one final unsolved case that has continued to haunt him.
In 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced readers to Sherlock Holmes and, since he entered the public domain, the legend of the world’s most famous detective continues to grow. From solving cases in Minnesota to contemplating his own existence, Holmes has seemingly done it all. However, like the film, these stories take place after the man with the deerstalker hat put away his magnifying glass. These are…the retirement Holmes.
Here’s a gift to you bibliophiles out there who haven’t yet met Mary Russell. Here is the first sentence of her debut in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. The twelfth book in the series, Garment of Shadows, is out in September, so now’s the time to get current!
“The words given voice inside the mind are not always clear, however; they can be gentle and elliptical, what the prophets call the bat qol, the daughter of the voice of God, she who speaks in whispers and half-seen images.”
Here’s the thing: Tamora Pierce‘s Tortall books are not just a series. They are an experience. They are poring over maps at recess and arguing about the relative merits of Jon and George at summer camp.
They are deciding whether you are better suited to the Queen’s Riders or the Court of the Rogue, and telling all your friends what color their Gift would be.They are checking in on your favorite characters ten years later.
They are swords and gods and magical animals, but also bullies and bruises and a lot of hard work. They take girl power beyond easy cliche, and no cousin of mine gets through puberty without some exposure.
These are books for the grown-or-growing Tortallans out there.
Mistborn is at once a coming-of-age story about a girl learning to use her powers, a fantasy epic about a disparate group of rebels plotting the downfall of an evil empire, and an ambitious exploration of the power of legends and what it means to be a hero.
She-Wolves looks at four of England’s powerful medieval queens, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou, and the Empress Matilda, and the legends and legacy they would leave for future would-be rulers.
Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight, so when the United States enters World War II, she hides her heritage to pass as white and join the WASP program. This is an exciting read about a compelling heroine, a group of indomitable young women, and the complexities of race, gender and identity in America.
Kushiel’s Dart opens the epic and immersive Kushiel’s Legacy series. The books are heavy on the sex, violence, and existential angst, without ever straying into the needlessly grimdark. As in Tortall, major themes include finding your place in the word, the different meanings of courage, and the gifts and burdens of being touched by a god. Also as in the Tortall books, new protagonists in subsequent generations allow readers to explore an ever-expanding world while keeping tabs on old friends.
Weatherford explores the fascinating lost history of the 13th century Mongol Empire and the women who fought for control of it. This is both a portrait of remarkable women and an examination of female power, legacy, legend, and the rewriting of history.
Bujold effortlessly juggles sub-genres and combines action, character development, philosophical and sociological questions, and laugh-out-loud humor in her world-spanning Vorkosigan books. Good starting points are Cordelia’s Honor (for space exploration, decapitations, romance, and a level-headed, butt-kicking heroine) and Young Miles (for coming-of-age, fighting to find a place in your society, spies, space battles, and an accidental army).
When young American ATA pilot Rose is captured by German forces en route to England during World War II, she is sent to a notorious women’s POW camp. Amidst the horrors of Nazi power, she meets an extraordinary group of women fighting for their survival.
In Medieval Brittany, Ismae flees from an unwanted marriage to the sanctuary of St. Mortain, where a sisterhood of god-touched assassins teaches her a dozen ways to kill a man. But love, loyalty, politics, and fate are all more complicated than Ismae’s teachers will admit.
Orphaned teenager Mary Russell, prickly, proud, very bright, stumbles across the now-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex. Literally. They’re a mismatched pair, but Holmes becomes Russell’s reluctant mentor and partner in detection. This is a fast-paced, very entertaining adventure story full of thrilling chases, far fetched disguises, villains, espionage and intrigue, which still manages to fit in laugh-out-loud moments, well-drawn characters, and feminist theology.
For Toby Daye, practical, put-upon, constantly snarking, who also happens to be a knight-errant of faerie. It’s hard to get by as a self-exiled changeling in modern San Francisco, and it’s harder when you’re getting dragged into murder, mayhem, and quests of mythic proportion.
Tamora Pierce has cited pulp comic book character Red Sonja–she of the chainmail bikini, swashbuckling swordplay, and questionable sexual politics–as a source of both inspiration and frustration. Now Gail Simone, comic book icon and writer on the current ongoing series, brings together big names in fantasy, including Tammy herself, to give us Red Sonja as never seen before.
The next few weeks are all about getting ready for Sherlock Seattle, so I finally finished this portrait of Mary Russell. More bees and Holmesian things coming up, hopefully. Prints of this will be available at Sherlock Seattle.
It has been a real pleasure re-reading The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, a book that I always forget I how much love until I am reading it. I am glad it’s gotten a nice tidy Twentieth Anniversary Edition, because though I recently became the last person on tumblr to watch Sherlock and liked it quite a bit, this series is my favorite version of the Holmes re-tellings.
That being said, I know it is anathema to request textual changes when publishing an anniversary edition, but I really wish they had done so here. Why? Well, because one of the first cases on which Mary Russell assists Sherlock Holmes, she helps rescue a young kidnapped girl named Jessica. JESSICA SIMPSON. Oh dear. It’s so distracting! I know that in 1994 our modern Jessica Simpson was still singing in church camp or something. I certainly don’t mean to blame King for not predicting the course of pop music. But I don’t think it would have been such a problem to do a search and replace and have kidnapped a young Victoria Simpson, for example. Nothing would have been lost except the opportunity to imagine a young Jessica Simpson trapped in a tree in period garb, mumbling to herself about whether she had chicken or tuna for dinner.
Anyway, if you can overlook that, and you’ve not read this series, take this opportunity to get started, especially since apparently we will be waiting another year for more Sherlock. A mystery for non-mystery readers, equally good for teens and adults, and, I bet, to be adored by fans of Flavia de Luce.
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.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most adapted, enacted, pastiched and parodied characters in literature. Here are a few favorite homages to the Great Detective, posted in honor of Melanie, who is searching for meaning in her life now that she’s finished series three of Sherlock.
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
Sherlock Seattle is honored and excited to announce our newest GOH, Sherlockian pastiche author Laurie R. King!
We’ve been keeping this under our hat for a while now, waiting for final confirmation which we have just received today! As a result we are pleased to welcome Laurie King, author of the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes novels, to Sherlock Seattle Convention this October! Spread the word!
Haven’t gotten your membership yet? No worries, you still have time to get the best value, but don’t wait too long! Membership rates go up July 16th! Visit Sherlock Seattle to buy your membership today!