In this series Mrs Hudson is not just a housekeeper but also a detective

Retellings and extensions of the stories of Sherlock Holmes are very popular. I would draw your attention to the novels of Laurie R King (which I review here and have enjoyed a lot) as an example of the genre but there are many others. Martin Davies has chosen to create new stories featuring the famous detective but with his housekeeper Mrs Hudson as the focal point and narrated by an orphaned kitchen maid called Flotsam (or Flottie for short). So far he has written five of these books with Mrs Hudson and the Lazarus Testament being the third – it is the only one I have read.

The author assumes that the investigations normally attributed to Sherlock Holmes himself are actually carried out by a team including Dr Watson and Mrs Hudson with Flotsam being at the centre of activity. In this book a man is knocked down directly outside their home in Baker Street and Flotsam hears his final words and starts her own investigation. Then Holmes is approached to investigate the whereabouts of a missing manuscript and they all end up on the moors where supernatural events seem to be occurring and people are disappearing.

This is a quick and easy read and I found it very enjoyable. The author ties the two strands together very well and creates a nice atmosphere of danger to add a bit of spice to the story. The characters of Holmes and Watson are not very similar to the originals but you just have to go with the story. I liked the advent of Mrs Hudson as a protagonist as in the Conan Doyle stories she has no character at all being just a servant – although I suspect that the blurring of the line between employer and employee is not completely accurate to the period in which the book is set.

I shall definitely have a look out for other books in this series as I enjoyed this one a lot. For those looking for an alternative depiction of Mrs Hudson can I also recommend The Murder of Mary Russell where Laurie R King gives a backstory for the character that I could never have imagined and which made for an excellent story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s