Since Laurie R. King’s first book, A Grave Talent, came out in 1993, she has gained a reputation as a prize-winning, best-selling author who holds an undying place in the hearts of readers ranging from fourteen year-old girls to members of the House of Lords to ninety year-old retired Air Force colonels.
King was born in northern California, the third generation in her family native to the San Francisco area. She spent her childhood reading her way through libraries like a termite through balsa, and her middle years raising children, traveling the world, and studying theology, earning a BA degree in comparative religion and an MA in Old Testament Theology. She now lives a genteel life of crime, back again in northern California.
Her fiction falls into three areas. First in the hearts of most readers comes Mary Russell, who met the retired Mr Sherlock Holmes in the winter of 1915 and became his apprentice, then his partner. Starting with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and continuing through Locked Rooms, Russell and Holmes move through the ’teens and ’twenties in amiable discord, challenging each other to ever greater feats of detection.
King’s other series concerns San Francisco homicide inspector Kate Martinelli, her SFPD partner Al Hawkin, and her life partner Lee Cooper. In the course of her five books, Kate has encountered a female Rembrandt, a modern-day Holy Fool, two difficult teenagers, and a manifestation of the goddess Kali.
King has also written three stand-alone suspense novels. A Darker Place truly stands alone, being the story of a middle-aged professor of religion who goes inside religious movements (so-called “cults”) to investigate their stability for the government, and here encounters a movement that embraces the ideas of alchemy.
The other two independent novels are actually very loosely linked, telling the stories of two people whose lives overlap very slightly in each book. Folly tells of woodworker Rae Newborne, who comes to a deserted island to rebuild a house, and her life. Keeping Watch is the story of Vietnam vet Allen Carmichael, who draws on his combat experiences to rescue abused women and children, until he comes across a boy whose problems may rival his own.
In addition to crime novels, she has written a futuristic novel, Califia’s Daughters (published in paperback original under the name Leigh Richards), and several short stories.
King has won the Edgar and Creasey awards (for A Grave Talent), the Nero (A Monstrous Regiment of Women) and the MacCavity (for Folly); her nominations include the Agatha, the Orange, the Barry, and two more Edgars. She was also given an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
More on the Author
To read Laurie’s really long autobiography click here.
For an interview of Laurie R. King by Mary J. Russell, click here.
Laurie wins Artist of the Year 2006 from the County of Santa Cruz Department of Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services. Read more here.
What They Say
“She’s a saint, a goddess, an angel and a national treasure.”
( – A participant in the Book Passage Mystery Writer’s Conference 2002)
“King is a talent to be reckoned with.”
(Feminist Bookstore Press)
|The Russell Books:
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (1994)A Monstrous Regiment of Women (1995)
A Letter of Mary (1997)
The Moor (1998)
O Jerusalem (1999)
Justice Hall (2002)
The Game (2004)
Locked Rooms (2005)
The Art of Detection (A Kate Martinelli book — 2006)
The Language of Bees (2009)
The God of the Hive (2010)
Pirate King (2011)
Garment of Shadows (September 2012)
|The Martinelli Books: A Grave Talent(1993)
To Play the Fool (1995)
With Child (1996)
Night Work(2000)The Art of Detection (2006)
Califia’s Daughters (2004)
Video interview with Barbara Peters of The Poisoned Pen
The panel LRK did with James Houston and Morton Marcus, moderated by Rick Kleffel, on “The Mystery of Writing”
Radio interview on Russell and Holmes from Wisconsin Public Radio, online at
Webcast of LRK at the National Book Fest
LRK videos on, well, lots of things.
Laurie did a radio talk with Marcia Muller, which you can read about and even hear.
And on on AfterEllen.com.
And in an article about lesbian mystery fiction.
An interview with Laurie can be found on Hazel Street.
Two interviews on the online monthly Mystery Readers find LRK interviewing Michael Connolly, then Mystery Readers find LRK being interviewed by Dana Stabenow. Find out why Laurie’s house smelled of skunk two years ago!
This interview with Laurie, which was the first in the Celebration of the West writers series, sponsored by the “Friends” of the UCSC and public libraries of Santa Cruz.
Here’s another recent article that (its author thought) was cleverly titled “She’s no Dr. Watson…”
In other gossip and news, you can look up interesting facts, and other Mystery writers at the site “Stop, You’re Killing Me.Com”……
A piece by Mia Stampe, entitled “Laurie R King and the phenomenon Mary Russell”, for the “Danish Baker Street Irregulars” newsletter can be read over here. Or for a directory of all interviews by Mia Stampe of LRK, go to her “Articles, Eccentric Writings, etc…” page.
“Yes, Laurie R. King is a mystery writer and a mighty readable one. She has two series: One with a detective who is a lesbian San Francisco police officer named Kate Martinelli. This series tends to be a bit on the dark, contemporary side, although it won’t have you reaching for the Prozac bottle like, say, Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta books. Her other series features Mary Russell, a turn-of-the-century feminist scholar who meets up with Sherlock Holmes. Now, I normally do not like writers who piggyback their characters onto the work of other, more celebrated writers, but King does a good job with Russell. I highly recommend both series. ” (from the Tow Truck driver’s guide)
For the Random House Laurie R. King page, click here.
To hear an author interview Laurie did for Recorded Books, click here.
- A Grave Talent: Edgar Award for best first novel from the Mystery Writers of America; John Creasey award from the Crime Writers’ Association (Britain); nominated for Macavity and Anthony awards.
- The Beekeeper’s Apprentice: nominated for the Agatha best novel award; Notable Young Adult book from the American Library Association.
- A Monstrous Regiment of Women: The Nero Wolfe award, best novel.
- With Child: nominated for the Edgar best novel award and the Orange Award, UK.
- Folly: Macavity award from Mystery Readers International.
- “Paleta Man” (from Irreconcilable Differences): nominated for Edgar best short story award.
- Guest of Honor, Left Coast Crime XII, 2002.
- Gail Rich Award for the arts, 1998.
- Honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 1997.
(Roll over images for a larger view.)
Val McDermid, Laurie, Dana Stabenow at BoucherCon, 2001. Who are the morning people in this picture?
LRK with daughter and husband visiting the Dalai Lama.
Evidence: Laurie in her carpenter’s belt, and the wrist brace that explains why she doesn’t do it now.
Laurie with her first editor Ruth Cavin of St. Martin’s Press
If you would like to write to Laurie King in person, she invites you to send her a letter via “snail mail” at: P. O. Box 4063
Santa Cruz, CA 95063-4063. She picks up her mail every week or two, and is more than happy to correspond.