The Marriage of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King is a terrific little short story details the actual act of marriage between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes that in the series only gets a passing mention. Though initially what seems to be logical arrangement, this short story gives us a glimpse into the true hidden emotions shared by Holmes and Russell.
For newcomers to the Mary Russell series, and seriously if you have never read one of these books and consider a mystery or Sherlockian buff, then you need to readjust your mindset. These novels are some of the best, new Sherlock Holmes stories to be found. Even more so because they really aren’t Sherlock stories.
Mary Russell is a young woman who is something of an outsider. Having come into an inheritance she decides she doesn’t want to conform to what is expected of a young English lady in the early 1900s. Instead she decides to move herself to the country and begin her life of solitude. Impetuous and hard headed, she finds herself embroiled in something of a mystery. Together with an older neighbor, a strange little beekeeper, she sets out to solve the mystery. The Beekeeper is of course a retired Sherlock Holmes and the book is the Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Russell becomes Holmes assistant in these adventures, whether solving a local murder or stopping an international scandal, she becomes the new Dr. Watson. But there are huge differences between Russell and Watson. That is that Russell is in fact, a female version of Holmes himself.
The usual cast of characters come and go in the novels, only they are now twenty years older than in the Conan Doyle stories and age has had their way with them. But no matter, they are just as intriguing and fun as they were in the past. But it is Russell who is the main driving force behind these stories and it is through eyes, ears, and mind that we see the mysteries unfold.
It is in fact Mary who proposes marriage to Holmes. Not so much as a romantic aspiration but as a practical one. As a way to maintain control of her fortune and because it is expected of her to marry. She realizes that after all this time, there is only one man whose company she enjoys. Only one man she has grown to care for. Holmes himself.
What begins as a practical arrangement becomes more as we watch through these novels, these two emotionally challenged sleuths, become something far more and the fondness blossom into something that resembles a very dysfunctional love.
For fans of the series, this short story is a must read. For those who have yet to discover Mary Russell, this is a glimpse into the world you have been missing.