Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Books

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Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are the lead characters of the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series of detective thriller novels by Laurie R. King. The two characters made their first appearance in the debut novel of the series “The Bookkeepers’ Apprentice” that was first published in 1994.

Order of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Series

1The Beekeeper's Apprentice1994Description / Buy
2A Monstrous Regiment of Women1995Description / Buy
3A Letter of Mary1996Description / Buy
4The Moor1998Description / Buy
5O Jerusalem1999Description / Buy
6Justice Hall2002Description / Buy
7The Game2004Description / Buy
8Locked Rooms2005Description / Buy
9The Language of Bees2009Description / Buy
10The God of the Hive2010Description / Buy
11Beekeeping for Beginners (Short Story)2011Description / Buy
12Pirate King2011Description / Buy
13Garment of Shadows2012Description / Buy
14Dreaming Spies2015Description / Buy
15The Marriage of Mary Russell2016Description / Buy
16The Murder of Mary Russell2016Description / Buy
17Mary Russell's War2016Description / Buy
18Island of the Mad2018Description / Buy
19Riviera Gold2020Description / Buy
20Castle Shade2021Description / Buy
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Mary Russell is a young woman who stumbles into the legendary Sherlock Holmes in 1915 to start a brilliant career as a detective. The series of novels begins in 1915 with the world-famous detective Holmes enjoying his retirement and farming bees, when he meets the egotistical, intelligent, impressionable, and gawky orphan Mary Russell. Taking her under his wing, Russell proves herself a worthy partner and clever protégé to the Victorian investigator.

The first novel in the series “The Bookkeepers’ Apprentice” begins with the teenage Mary Russell stumbling upon a bizarre looking man studying some bees. She had never known that the encounter would change her life for good, as the man is none other than legendary sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock takes her under her wing, becoming her best friend and mentor in the dark arts of mystery investigation.

A few years of training, sees Mary Russell become an excellent detective who works alongside the master in resolving a range of complex cases. Things come to a head when Mary’s efforts interfere with the workings of a rapidly rising underworld figure, who becomes her admirer. What follows is a great detective mystery as the admirer attempts to kill her to prevent her from interfering with his work. “The Bookkeepers’ Apprentice” is a great novel that highlights the excellent story telling skills of Laurie that won him an Edgar Award in 1994.


The Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series of novels have made the shortlist for many awards and won several over the years. The second novel in the series “A Monstrous Regiment of Women” that Laurie published in 1995 was the winner of the 1996 Nero Award. The thirteenth novels in the series “Dreaming Spies” was the winner of the 2015 Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel.


The Bookkeepers’ Apprentice: The first novel in the series, which introduced the lead characters in the series is considered by many, fans one of the best novels in the series. With its excellent prose, well-drawn characters, and portrayal of the most famous detective in a completely new light, the novel is a great page-turner for any fan of the original Sherlock Holmes.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women: The Nero Award-winning title is another excellent novel in the series. Mary is looking for respite and goes to London to get away from annoying relatives. In London, she bumps into an old friend that introduces her to Margery Childe, an enigmatic and strange woman that heads up the cult named “The New Temple of God”. The charismatic sect has a feminist bent on Christianity and dabbles in the World War I suffrage movement.

Intrigued and curious about the sect, Mary believes there may be something more sinister about the sect and proceeds to investigate. Her investigations reveal that many of the sect’s young and wealthy female contributors and volunteers have been dying mysteriously. Things get even more bizarre and dangerous, as Mary’s suddenly finds herself facing some of the most vicious and dangerous villains she has ever had to.

Dreaming Spies: The Agatha Award-winning novel is another of the most popular novels in the series. The novel tells of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and protégé Mary Russell in Japan. Sherlock and Mary come home in 1925 to find what seems like a very familiar decorative on their front lawn. They know the stone as they had last seen it on a garden in Tokyo, the garden of the man that would later become the Emperor of Japan. The stone is just the first indicator that the investigations of the previous year had not been as complete as they had believed. Their lives are now in danger from unknown elements that had somehow eluded their dragnet in Tokyo.


Many fans of the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series of novels also love the “Benjamin Weaver” series of novels by David Liss. Benjamin Weaver the lead in the historical series is Portuguese Sephardic Jew character who retires from boxing to become an amateur sleuth in 18th century London.

Fans of the Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series are also fans of the “Maisie Dobbs historical mystery” series by Jacqueline Winspear. Winspear is a former servant who branches out on her own to become an investigator and psychologist in 1929 London.

What Is The Next Book in The Mary Russell And Sherlock Holmes Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Mary Russell And Sherlock Holmes Series. The newest book is Castle Shade and was released on June, 8th 2021.

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