Welcome to a new decade! And it's party favors are already here. As Les Klinger tweeted on the last day of the year, as in yesterday:
Three favorites among the later Sherlock Holmes stories have entered the public domain. And not just stories . . . characters!
Kitty Winter, the hell-cat from Hell, London, has been loosed upon the world. And lord knows, there's a character with many a story to tell! If Kitty was the Human Torch, she couldn't have more fiery terms used to describe her. She is a "brand." She is "flame-like." She has "blazing eyes," "fierce energy," and she literally burns a man with her vengeance.
We never learn just what Kitty suffered at the hands of the Baron, but it's enough that upon hearing it, the courts gave her the lowest possible sentence for a horrific crime. They couldn't find her innocent, but whatever came out in that trial convinced a judge that she had been punished enough and that the Baron deserved what he got.
Kitty Winter is also the one woman who got to work with Sherlock Holmes during his detective career. Later, Martha of the unknown last name got to work the spy game with him, probably assigned by Mycroft or some other secret government agency. But Kitty was the woman is many ways that Irene Adler fans wish she got to be.
And now she's in the public domain, her sentence over with. Sherlock Holmes might be able to grab her and drag her out the door of 104 Berkley Square before she lays the whupass on an infuriating Violet, but the copyright police won't be holding Kitty back any more.
No doubt there will be vampires in Sussex that we didn't hear of before, and more Garridebs than should ever be in the world, but, ah, that Kitty Winter! When the clock struck midnight, you might even have heard a distant laugh from that flame-like avenger somewhere in the distance, as her spirit flew free to roam.
Because it's 2020. And the hell-cat is loose.