Russell’s War

Last year on the centenary of the Great War’s beginnings,Chronicle_Polaris_front_page_full_webI began posting young Mary Russell’s War Journal. Her weekly reflections about the War, her drive to do something more than just be a fourteen year-old girl,Kitchener-leete-poster_1half copy

(her mother is raising money for the British air force)pilot_dropping_bomb_from_plane_2thirds copy

and her suspicions about German spies weave in and out of her family history, the Russells’ building War troubles, and the personal trauma that ultimately drives her to Sussex, and to her momentous meeting with Sherlock Holmes.

The 101st anniversary of the Great War’s beginnings is next Tuesday. To mark it, I’m putting a revised version of Mary Russell’s Journal, with a lot of contemporary illustrations, up for sale as an ebook.Mary Russell's War cover4

The blog posts remain up on this blog, under the tag “Mary Russell’s War,” but if you enjoyed reading young Mary’s journal, and you’d like an updated and cleaned up version (with pictures!) it’s be available on Kindle for pre-sale now, here, and will be on the other formats here.

I hope you enjoy it!

Mr Holmes

Today I did another of those bits of difficult research I force myself to pursue: I went to see Ian McKellan in Mr Holmes.

Oh my, what an actor, slipping effortlessly between a vital 60 year old and a decrepit and confused man in his nineties. And the Sussex scenery is suitably gorgeous, the houses made me want to move in (and I could! The Sussex cottage he lives in is a B&B!)

Holmes’ musings on becoming fictional are great, and his dislike for deerstalker hats and larger pipes are a nice touch. There are even in-jokes: when Holmes goes to watch a Sherlock Holmes film, the man playing the lead is Nicholas Rowe, who played in “Young Sherlock Holmes.” And the inspector who comes to talk to Holmes? Well, remember the taxi driver in the BBC’s “Study in Pink”? Here’s Phillip Davis again, with a twinkle in his eye.

But the cherry on the top was when I came home and my sister handed me the movie’s review (by Lisa Jensen, with whom I have a Mutual Admiration Society) that appeared in the weekly Good Times. The review ends with the line:

I hope the next time the movies want to do something really original with Sherlock Holmes, they discover the novels of Laurie King.

In the meantime, enjoy Mr Holmes.

Ooh: Maps!

I love maps. I’m always thrilled to have the excuse of a story that just NEEDS a map at the front (because honest, nobody knows what India looks like, or England, so we have to put one in there, right?)

Anyway, when I was in London in May, I was headed to the Victoria & Albert to look at Victorian underwear (well, outerwear too) and because sometimes it’s easier to take one line on the Underground than hassle with changing lines in the stations, I was walking a fairly meandering route through the streets when I passed a store with…

Maps. And more than maps: the most gorgeously delectable and intricately decorated map these eyes have ever set upon.

The Map House, in collaboration with the V&A, handed over an 1816 map of London to an Icelandic artist, who did this:

Here’s a detail:IMG_1055

Isn’t it just mouth-watering? Her name is  Kristjana S. Williams, and if I had endless boodle, I’d cover my walls in her wallpaperd7058a_9344ced094c547dab45ff95240010007.png_srb_p_400_400_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srb

And my sofa with her pillows.d7058a_2541224b138b41d59fee23cfec6394b8.png_srb_p_400_400_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srb

Though in the meantime, at least I have her map.

(Hmm. You think people would pay a couple dollars extra for a novel with a color print map in the front…?)

We have a look!

The Art department just gave me the cover!  So, what do you think? Yummy, huh?



Pre-ordering a copy lets Random House know you’re excited:

Signed from Bookshop Santa Cruz or Poisoned Pen Books

Unsigned or ebook at B&N/Nook or Amazon/Kindle.


I’m off today to Thriller Fest in New York!2015-website_banner_final-regonline

(—and SO glad I wasn’t flying yesterday, when United Airlines was a parking lot.)

This will be my first time at Thriller Fest, although I’ve been a member of ITW for a long time and I’ll know a fair number of the writers there. This is a conference geared toward craft, with panels on everything from copyrights to character development. My panel (Friday afternoon) is called “He Said, She Said. Did Anyone Listen? Writing the opposite sex,” so I guess I’ll be talking about Harris Stuyvesant and Bennett Grey, and maybe Allen Carmichael. And let’s see, who was that other guy? Oh yeah: Sherlock Holmes.

If you’re one of the Thrillers at the Fest, say hi!