I lead a mystery book club at work and this month, our book for discussion is The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King. It’s the fourteenth book in a series about the later years of Sherlock Holmes and, in the series, she introduces a new character, Mary Russell, who eventually becomes Holmes’s wife. King also uses a plot line from a Sherlock Holmes story and has incorporated several of those characters into her book, including Holmes’s longtime housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson.
So King has taken Sherlock Holmes, a well-known character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s series of detective stories, and added him and others to her own new set of stories. It’s an interesting idea, one that seems to fall somewhat into the category of fan fiction.
But much of fan fiction is posted casually on the Internet, and is not professionally published, so this is where King’s books are very different. King is a New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels and other works and has won many awards, including the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the John Creasy Award from the Crime Writers’ Association and the Nero Wolf award for best novel.
I was at a bit of a disadvantage in reading The Murder of Mary Russell because I have not read the first thirteen books or any of the original Sherlock Holmes stories! But I had to jump in and, once I got going, it wasn’t hard to follow. I’ll be posting my review of The Murder of Mary Russell later this week, but for now I can tell you that I enjoyed it very much.
My question today is, are you a fan fiction fan? Have you read much of it or even written some? Do you know about the Mary Russell series? Please visit the comments section and tell me what you think!
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9 thoughts on “On mystery writer Laurie R. King, Sherlock Holmes and fan fiction”
Thanks for the introduction, Barbara. I’m not really familiar with fan fiction. I’ve heard the term, so I Googled it. 🙂
I was googling only a few hours ago. It took me a while to realize I might be reading something that was fan fiction, although this is at a much higher level. Thanks for stopping by, Jill. I hope Florence weakens and that you are safe. Take care!
Thanks, Barbara! We’re hoping so, too!
The very little amount of the fan fiction I’ve read has been very much in the casual online category, something I read out of curiosity about the whole fan fiction phenomenon. Let’s just say I saw no reason to explore further . . . but I keep hearing about high-quality ff, so perhaps I should take another look. Laurie King’s work certainly seems to be of an altogether higher species, and anyone who has successfully riffs on Sherlock Holmes has my admiration if for nothing more than their courage. I have read Sir A.C. Doyle, and his stuff is classic for good reason. But I shall keep my mind wedged open 😉
Yes, I’ve never read fan fiction and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure what this book was all about when I started reading. I only know a little about fan fiction but I can tell you that Laurie King’s books are way above that level. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I guess I’m going to have to read some of the original Sherlock Holmes stories!
Being a big fan of all the Sherlock Holmes stories and some of the non-Doyle versions, I was so disappointed when I read the first Laurie King Holmes’s book. It’s a great premise and the novel did start out good, but after about 100 pages, the story just dragged and dragged far too much for me. Haven’t picked up another one since.
This sounds interesting. My older son (15 years old) is Sherlock HOlmes mad. He has read all the books and other series based on this character. He thinks they are great.
Yes the Holmes stories have a big following still. I have never read them but I did have to read up on the one story on which this book is based. Your son might like the Mary Russell series which starts with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Thanks for stopping by, Robbie! Happy reading, traveling and baking!
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