Mary Russell walked into my life with the first line of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, and took over. At the time, I had little knowledge of the Great War, England in the Twenties, or Sherlock Holmes, but that didn’t seem to matter to her, she just waited (graciously stifling her impatience) for me to catch up.
Twelve books later, I have learned a great deal about Russell, Holmes, and their world. I have learned even more about myself and my world, since a central raison d’etre of reading history, even fictional history, is that it is a mirror, reflecting unexpected sides of our times and ourselves. Politics, women’s rights, religious expression, governmental oppression–all these and more wander through the Russell stories, so that although they are primarily, as Graham Greene called his books, “entertainments,” they also have the real-life grit and dimension that a crime novel demands.
But mostly, I enjoy the Russells because they’re fun, for the writer and (I am led to believe) for the reader. I hope you agree.
|Dreaming Spies (2015)
In 1924, Russell & Holmes are on their way from India to California when they are swept into a case for Japan’s Prince Regent, involving blackmail, imperial secrets, and delicate international relations. The case takes them from one spring to the next, across two oceans and into the Bodleian Library, where the secrets are just beginning.
| Garment of Shadows (2012)
Russell and Holmes have traveled the world since their 1915 meeting on the Sussex Downs. Now they find themselves in Morocco. Although it takes some time before Russell knows quite where, since she wakes in a strange city with no memory, in unfamiliar clothes, and with blood on her hands–and to make matters more interesting, there seems to be a war on. Holmes, meanwhile, is swanning around in the Atlas Mountains, ducking bullets, happily oblivious to both the war and his missing amnesiac wife. Just another day in the life of Russell & Holmes.
|Pirate King (2011)
In this eleventh adventure for the intrepid Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, New York Times bestselling author Laurie R. King takes readers into the frenetic world of silent films, where the pirates are real and the shooting isn’t all done with cameras. Check the Pirate King page for updates on this newest Russell and Holmes adventure and news about the Eleven Weeks of Laurie Arrrgh! King.
|The God of the Hive (2010)
Russell and Holmes have worked together to solve the most perplexing of cases. Now, The God of the Hive picks up where The Language of Bees left off. Chased by those who want them dead, chasing answers to deadly mysteries, the consequences of what they find will circle the globe, and involve a man with a curious identity and a dangerous past. With the God of London’s hive watching them, it will take more than deduction if they ever want to see each other alive again.
|The Language of Bees (2009)
Returning to summertime Sussex, Russell and Holmes anticipate problems with a beehive gone mad, but little anticipate what–and who–awaits them on their arrival. Bohemian artists, religious fanatics, and a thinned-down Mycroft: will wonders never cease?
|Locked Rooms (2005)
(A Booksense Pick)
Setting sail from their adventures in India during the spring of 1924, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes turn their faces toward San Francisco. Russell knows that the time has come to close up the house and business interests she inherited on the death of her family, ten years before. Little does she anticipate the complexity of events her past is built upon, the layers of trust and betrayal that are locked inside her memory. Only Holmes suspects what lies therein–and even he is not prepared for the danger that unfolds.
|The Game (2004)
This New York Times bestseller features the world’s greatest detective — and her husband. Mary Russell and her partner, Sherlock Holmes, are setting off for the wilds of India, jousting with maharajas and British spymasters alike as they search for a missing figure from an earlier age of colonial spycraft.
|Justice Hall (2002)
(A Booksense Choice)
Two old friends reappear, in decidedly different guise: the two “Bedouin” guides from O Jerusalem are in England, caught in a mesh of honor and justice and the death of a young nephew.
|O Jerusalem (1999)
Mycroft Holmes has a little job that needs doing, in 1919 Palestine, where an unfinished war is about to blow up and Russell finds that life as a Bedouin is not all strong coffee and candied almonds.
(1998) ISBN 978-0-312-42739-9
A hound stalks Dartmoor by night, and Holmes calls Russell to the side of an old man from his past, Sabine Baring-Gould, the squire of Lew Trenchard.
|A Letter of Mary (1997)
A first-century manuscript that would turn Christianity on its ear; the death of a friend; and Mary Russell as the private secretary of a misogynist colonel.
|A Monstrous Regiment of Women (1995)
(Nero Award Winner)
Russell, just twenty-one, meets a charismatic feminist mystic in London and faces a choice about the future.
|The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (1994)
(Agatha nominee; ALA notable book; 100 favorite books of the IMBA)
The book that begins the adventure: In 1915, young Mary Russell meets Sherlock Holmes on the Sussex Downs, and becomes his apprentice-in-crime.