Developments (Also: SPOILER ALERT)

Mary Russell’s been put into a box that’s barely larger than a coffin. Her fault: she’d been walking around the village in the dark, alone because Holmes had been called away on some urgent business by his brother Mycroft.

Self hates Buried Alive stories, so she is glad this is not that. Though the box Mary Russell finds herself in is very small, only high enough to allow her to squat, she puts all her strength into shooting upwards, and finds that the box she is in is not locked, so the top goes flying up, then flying down again, hard, on the top of her head.

After she recovers from the concussion, she climbs out of the box and finds her boots, her flashlight, her spectacles and most important her knife, lined up neatly next to the box. She secures these items, then goes flying up a village road, knife out to defend against any attackers, and she passes two peasant women who are so alarmed by the sight of her that they drop the contents of their baskets onto the road, which are onions.

And then she proceeds in that fashion up to Castle Bran, where three very handsome young men (servants of Queen Marie) are chatting against a Citroen and stop what they are doing to stare. Then on into the castle where the Queen’s butler (Florescu, he with the fang-like incisors) also stops what he is doing to stare. And past her husband, who has apparently just arrived back from his business in Bucharest, who also does nothing but stop and stare (in horror, Mary Russell notes). She finally recovers enough to turn and address the horrified spectators thus:

“I seem to have . . . had something of a turn, and woke to find myself in a rather grubby situation. Pardon me.”

Castle Shade, p. 195

Self is enjoying this.


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