So, the Sherlock Holmes books don’t have a great reputation in terms of women. Holmes himself “disliked and distrusted” them, many of the ladies in the ACD canon are treated like helpless children, etc etc etc. But…
Allow me to present a case for the defense: Miss Kitty frickin’ Winter.
I’ve been bingewatching the Jeremy Brett Sherlocks over the past couple of days and that particular version of The Illustrious Client reminded me how much I love her. She’s not a typical Holmes woman in the slightest. She’s not rich, she’s not described as being particularly pretty, she had sex outside of marriage, chances are high she’s a prostitute (not said outright in the book, but kinda implied…) and she’s the victim of trauma at the hands of a wealthy, important man.
I don’t know how Victorian society would have perceived Kitty in terms of survivorship, but I don’t think the average person would’ve approved. Kitty is furious, endlessly furious at what’s happened to her. She wants revenge, and she isn’t going to be polite or respectable while she goes about it.
There was an intensity of hatred in her white, set face and her blazing eyes such as woman seldom and man never can attain.
Damn that’s a good line!
But here’s the quite remarkable thing, Kitty actually gets her vengeance in the end, and at little cost to herself. She doesn’t get overly punished for melting someone’s face off, she doesn’t get punished for being a fallen woman, she doesn’t get punished for her rage… she accomplishes what she wants to and survives. Oh man I love her.
(All those gifs are from Granada Sherlock Holmes but I heard a modern-day version of Kitty showed up in Elementary as well. I really gotta watch that.)