Laurie King’s Russell and Holmes Books

I received my best Christmas present ever when I was 11: A two-volume set of The Complete Sherlock Holmes stories. I had already devoured all the Nancy Drew books, so this was the next adult reading step. It must have been a precursor of my reading habits, as mysteries are my favorite genre. But they have to be good ones!

Yesterday I started reading Dreaming Spies, the 13th novel in Laurie King’s series about Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. Mary Russell is the woman whom Holmes actually marries. She is a scholar in theology (as is King) and she makes a perfect companion for the curious, intelligent, crotchety, entertaining Holmes. Many people have attempted to enhance Conan Doyle’s Holmes legacy with books, plays, stories, and television series. But King came up with a completely new conceit in this fascinating character of Mary Russell, and these stories continue to delight and also broaden the character of Holmes himself.

Dreaming Spies has Russell and Holmes on a ship traveling from India to Japan. A ship is a perfect setting for mystery, and King makes the most of it. It makes me wonder if there are mysteries set on cruise ships! It’s kind of an expanded locked room.

I started reading this after I stopped reading something else. I had looked on my Kindle for something I had yet to read and found one that looked promising. I quit after about 20 pages. It was terrible! So then I tumbled to Dreaming Spies and I’m glad I did. I haven’t read King for several years, and I’m glad to be back to it.

Laurie King has two other series as well as stand-alone novels. You can read more about it all at

Here are the Russell and Holmes books in order:

  • 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 Language of Bees (2009)
  • The God of the Hive (2010)
  • Pirate King (2011)
  • Garment of Shadows (2012)
  • Dreaming Spies (2015)
  • The Murder of Mary Russell (2016)
  • Island of the Mad (2018)
  • Rivera Gold (2020)
  • Castle Shade (June 8, 2021)

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