An excerpt from "Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson's Kitchen":
Women were the chattel of men – divorce for a woman was almost unattainable and if she did succeed she was cast out of society, never to see her children again. Women were perceived to be unable to comprehend the superior knowledge of men and were deemed the weaker sex in general. A woman’s role was completely and utterly subordinate to man’s.
I was extremely fortunate that my solicitor father regarded my formal education with the same importance he ascribed to that of my brother, Robert. In this more liberal household I was not treated as a “possession” to be handed over with all my worldly goods to any “suitable” husband. Indeed, my father ensured that I should have a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing my access to my own property of jewels, pin money and other worldly goods in an estate that I may possess for my sole and separate use not subject to the control of my husband. I am thankful that I met and married Alec Hudson, who shared these values, and respected the human rights of women. But despite this point of view and attempted safeguards for a legacy of my own, The Married Woman’s Property Act of 1870 nevertheless provided that all property in a woman’s name before marriage still belonged to her husband after marriage. Once married, the only way that a woman could reclaim property was through widowhood. It was only through the tragedy of Alec’s murder that I was able to – as provided in his will – maintain control over our property and my inheritance, and owned land since by law any unmarried adult female was considered to be a “femme sole”. It wasn’t until 1893 that the Third Woman’s Property Act gave women control of their own property.
Thus I came to inherit 221 Baker Street and became landlady to Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson. The rental of their rooms augmented my inheritance, which amounted to a healthy and steady annual income. My earlier education prepared me for the efficient running of a household and for that I thank my insightful father. Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson took up their rooms in originally in 1891 but by 1889 Mr. Holmes paid me a rather “princely sum” as reported in “The Adventure of the Dying Detective.” This, of course was due to my increasing involvement with Mr. Holmes’s consulting practice and the very real dangers it imposed.
Praise for "Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson's Kitchen"
“A revelation of what else happened at 221 Baker Street …
Mrs. Heyman-Marsaw has done an incredible job of gathering Mrs. Hudson’s comments and recipes, and editors JoAnn and Mark Alberstat have assembled the pieces into a very pleasing whole. I’m very glad to have this volume in my collection, both for Mrs. Hudson’s own thoughts, and also for the chance to try some of the recipes.”
- David Marcum , editor of The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories
"Memoirs from Mrs. Hudson’s Kitchen, by Wendy Heyman-Marsaw, edited by JoAnn and Mark Alberstat, is adapted from a series of columns in the journal Canadian Holmes. In addition to presenting recipes that might well have been served at 221B Baker Street, Mrs. Hudson offers a storehouse of information about the history, culture (high tea vs. cream tea), and attire of the Victorian era. Some good scholarship is on display here! The advertisements from the period that illustrate the book are also highly informative, and the recipe index at the end is helpful. This one is staying on the shelves in my office for easy reference. "
- Dan Andriacco is the author of the successful Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody mystery series, most recently “Queen City Corpse”.