The Illustrious Client
“In the mud with my foot on his cursed face”: That’s how Kitty Winter would like to see Baron Gruner. And I thought, Wait a minute, we’ve seen something like that before: Lady X grinding her heel into the face of Charles Augustus Milverton after shooting him. Grisly stuff, female revenge on the male. Is Conan Doyle just repeating himself?
Not entirely: For instance, in the earlier story a lady does the shooting and the heel grinding. In this one Kitty Winter is no lady; she’s what? A force of nature? A whirlwind, a flame, a she-devil, a leprous female Shinwell Johnson found in the “garbage” of the underworld? She lives in “Hell, London,” but wishes Gruner in a deeper one. And she doesn’t in the end go in for shooting and heel grinding, but for tossing acid in a man’s face…
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