Is anyone else looking forward to this? I'll be there with me mum, old copies of Justice Hall in tow. I have eagerly devoured each of her Holmes and Russell novels, chronicling the cases of Sherlock Holmes, in 'early retirement', living in Sussex, placidly keeping bees and doing 'experiments' and the much younger and feistier Mary Russell, who is first an apprentice detective and then colleague and then wife. Curiously, it works. Each novel is set after WWI, and display dazzling plot twists, historical accuracy and good Holmesian logic puzzles. I think my favourite is Justice Hall, and O, Jerusalem, set in Israel.Atmosphere
I first encountered King's detective series when we were living in Scotland, and I was ransacking the local West Kilbride library for something to read/listen to in order to stay sane on all those long dark drizzly winter nights (sunset: 3:45pm !) I found the first in her Holmes and Russell series, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. It was recorded onto CD, and read by a right proper old English matron. I listened to it at night as I knitted B's Dr. Who scarf (stripey and miles long, but it turned out more after the style of Mrs. Weasley....) I downed copious cups of tea, ate way too many Hob Nobs ("One nibble and you're nobbled".) The rain pounded against the lead-paned windows, the sideways wind howled and sent the escallonia outside knocking and clattering against the side of the thick stone walls. All very Atmospheric, and British and all that.
The Plot Thickens
Except, as I discovered a few years later, Laurie King is from Watsonville, California; which comprises the southern part of Santa Cruz county! Very agricultural and Mexican-influenced, more quincenera than ceillidh, definitely more Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck grew up in the next county) than Hounds of the Baskervilles. I was staggered. Not only because Laurie King is an American, but because I've probably run into her somewhere around town, like the Cabrillo farmer's market or ordering burritos at one of Watsonville's many taquerias. Or at Bookshop Santa Cruz this Saturday night, January 26th. At 7:30. B.Y.O.P.A.S.H. (Bring your own pipe and silly hat.)