I started another Laurie R. King book last night, The Moor. It's part of King's Mary Russell series and feature Sherlock Holmes in the years after he retired and became a rural beekeeper. Mary Russell is a young woman in her mid-teens when she first meets Holmes. Holmes, of course, is a heck of a lot older, although, as King makes clear, not elderly. She suggests that Holmes was actually much younger than Conan Doyle's accounts of his exploits made him appear, probably because she recognized that if she made him too old in her own books it would be hard to keep him believable. A middle-aged man might be plausible as a hero; someone's who slid over the geezer line into "you kids get off my lawn" territory is not.
I think the first one I read in the series was The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I was dubious -- I've read a number of books where authors attempted to use the Sherlock Holmes character and didn't do a particularly good job with the effort. In the end, King did well enough that I went looking for other books by her, including another series set in modern day San Francisco, but I still have some reservations about the whole Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes thing. The plot lines are interesting, the characters are fleshed out enough to feel like real people, the historical backdrop is obviously thoroughly researched . . . but there's that whole May-December romance thing.
It isn't that I don't believe a woman, particularly a young woman, could exist who could actually think circles around Holmes and be as intellectually detached as him -- a meeting of like minds, so to speak. I can understand two seemingly very dissimilar people discovering that they're actually perfectly matched. I'm just thoroughly creeped out at the moment by the age thing.
Of course, I may be noticing it more than I usually do when reading a Mary Russell mystery because I just finished The Wives of Henry VIII. Reading descriptions of Henry Tudor in hot pursuit of a nubile bride, someone who could give him sons, is enough to evoke shudders in any reader. Antonia Fraser quotes from documents (letters, diaries, and even official legal records) that make it clear that by the time Henry was married to wife #4 --Ann of Cleves -- the only way he could perform was to be with a woman so young she barely qualified as an adult. An amazing amount of documentation exists giving explicit details of the king's sex life, or lack thereof. By the time he's in his 40s he's pretty adamant about expecting a girlish virgin in the bed, and Ann didn't fit the model. She wasn't petite, her breasts weren't perky, and she was pushing 30, something that hadn't bothered him in the abstract while the negotiations for the marriage were in progress, but obviously hit home once she arrived in England.
Followed reading about Henry's messed up love life with watching the news and seeing John McCain having applesauce accidents in supermarkets, and older men are looking very creepy indeed.