Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

Early 20th Century England


A Letter of Mary

by Laurie R. King

This is only one of an engaging series in which the illustrious Sherlock Holmes takes on Mary Russell as his apprentice. In creating Mary, a woman who more than once apppears to be Sherlock’s intellectual equal, author King has had to endure the wrath of some who couldn’t bear the idea of anyone using the great man in this way. But King’s heroine Mary seems plausible, and Sherlock’s character is left fairly intact. The story, beyond being an action packed yarn, focuses on the work of a womens rights archaeologist who has discovered a scroll with a letter written on it by Mary Magdalene. The document’s find reflects the research of recent historians who have uncovered a larger role of women in leadership in the first decades of Christianity than has previously been recognized.

The adventures of Mary Russell in another book in the series, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, looks at the British suffrage movement in the early 1920s. This book’s title comes from the Protestant reformer John Knox who in his phamplet “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558)”, described women rulers as being “repugnant to nature and good order.” Our unit I Will Not Bow My Head includes a lesson about England’s suffrage movement.



Lyn Reese is the author of all the information on this website
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Women in World History Curriculum