“Mrs. Hudson’s Case” — Laurie R. King

Laurie R. King is the bestselling author of the Mary Russell series, which began with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. The latest entry in the series, The Language of Bees, was published in April, and the next volume, currently titled The Green Man, is due out next year. King is the winner of the Edgar, Creasy, and Nero awards, and is slated to be the Guest of Honor at the 2010 Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. Although King writes primarily in the mystery genre, she is also the author of the post-apocalyptic novel Califia’s Daughters, written under the pseudonym Leigh Richards.

They say it’s a man’s world, and that’s largely true of the world of Sherlock Holmes as well. Holmes and Watson are perhaps the best known “buddy” pair in literature, and most of the characters they interact with are men—Lestrade, Moriarty, Moran. Of the more notable female characters, Irene Adler appears in only one adventure and Mrs. Hudson is very much on the periphery. This story changes all that—as you might guess from the title—placing Mrs. Hudson squarely in the center of events. Another strong female presence here is Mary Russell, a university student and protégé of Sherlock Holmes, who first appeared in the aforementioned The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. King describes Russell as “what Sherlock Holmes would look like if Holmes, the Victorian detective, were (a) a woman, (b) of the Twentieth century, and (c) interested in theology.” Russell’s many talents include knife throwing, lock picking, and ancient languages. Women often exist in private solidarity with each other, sharing confidences and secrets that are kept separate from the world of men. That is certainly the case in our next adventure, which gives us a rare glimpse of Mrs. Hudson from the point of view of another woman.