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Margaret Powling

A very big thank you to Laurie, your guest blogger, Danielle, for such an inspiring blog. I have already ordered the first Holmes/Russell novel. I'm delighted that Laurie has read widely about this wartime and immediately post WW1 period. It will be intersting to compare this American writer's take on the England of this period compared with, say, the Nell Bray novels of Gillian Linscott (aka Caro Peacock) and the Maisie Dobbs novels of Jacqueline Winspear.


I second Margaret's thanks - what a very interesting post! I'm off to look up Laurie's books now.



What a pleasure to read about your use of history in the Mary Russell series. It somehow makes me feel just a bit smarter for having read and enjoyed them all so much. While the books are wonderfully entertaining, it seems as though there is also some education involved in the reading of them, as well. For those who haven't read "Justice Hall" yet, when you do you will never think about about the Great War in the same way again. Thanks.

--Marjorie (West Haven, CT)

Heather J.

Excellent post! I too am fascinated every time I find a detail in the Mary Russell books that I recognize as being historical fact (references to Tolkien at Oxford and Lawrence in the Middle East spring to mind).

I'm in the middle of O Jerusalem right now - can't wait to find out what happens in the rest of the series!

Pat Floyd

What an excellent description of what your books embody. They have greatly enriched my life, and I eagerly await THE LANGUAGE OF BEES.
--Pat (Nashville, TN)


Wouldn't she be wonderful to have as a friend or neighbour! Whenever I meet someone interesting I turn into Barbara Walters, or so my husband says, I could ask Laurie King questions all day long.

Carl V.

It was a wonderful post, Ms. King. Thank you so much.

My wife is a huge fan of this time period. I need to check with her right away to see if she has read any of your novels, as I know without a doubt they would be right up her alley. I have no doubt I would enjoy them as well because I am a fan of Holmes and the time period.

It is truly fascinating to hear of the research that has to go into writing historical fiction, and I for one appreciate authors who take the time to do so. I believe that all that background gathering, even if it doesn't find its way to the printed page, lends a weight and depth to the story.

"We don't read historical fiction because the people are so different from us, so weirdly foreign and incomprehensible. We read it because it shows ourselves, under a different guise."

Exactly!!! Honestly I think the best fiction in every genre does this, from science fiction to historical fiction. One of the most profound experiences one can have when reading a novel is to see things through the point of view of a character that relates to the here and now of our lives.

Again, thank you so much.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that my wife, Mary, was Mary Russell before we married and she took on my name. She simply has to read these now, what a hoot that would be!!!


Thank you for such and interesting and informative post - I always like to hear about how and why an author does research for their writing. I'm all ready to start reading The Beekeeper's Apprentice now!


I really enjoyed this post. I tell everyone about this series and used it as the opening book (Beekeeper's Apprentice) for one of the book groups I moderate at my library branch almost two years ago now.

I look forward to the new offering in April. Thanks for writing such an interesting series, Ms. King!


I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ms. King's post too. I introduced my daughter to Mary Russell and she's now hooked on them as well. My favourite so far has been The Moor but I still have several more to read. It's lovely to know that they are there and that I can rely on them being a terrific read.

Laurie King

Thanks, Dani and all, for inviting me. I agree with Heather that it's fun to come across snippets in novels that you know to be true, whether it's about a town you know well or a time you remember or have read about. That's one of the fun things for a writer, too!

And Darlene, you'd probably be vastly disappointed that the person Laurie King was nowhere near as interesting as her writing. Some of us need to think about words before they come out at all clever.

And Carl, I love that your wife is a Mary Russell. I truly hope she doesn't hate the books.

Thanks again, and--enjoy!


Dorothy W.

This post was fun to read! I'm particularly intrigued by the process of research you describe, Laurie -- what a challenge that must have been, to decide to learn about an entirely new period well enough to set novels in it! How much fun it must have been to plan all the reading, and then to do it. Even reading the bad novels must have held some interest (maybe -- or were they painfully bad?).


Many thanks Laurie for taking the time to guest post here. I love hearing about your inspiration for the series and how you set about preparing for it. I had no idea, though am not surprised, that so many died that the updates to the guides to the Peerage were suspended--that seems incredible. It must be fascinating to research this period and hard to decide what goes into the books and what stays behind the scenes so to speak. I'm looking forward to reading more Mary Russell novels and learning more!


What a pleasure to read this guest post, Ms. King! I've been a fan of yours since Grave Talent, and one of the great pleasures of the books has been getting some of that body of knowledge along with you (reading up on theology, the Great Game, discovering Kipling, etc.) I can't wait for The Language of Bees to come out! Thanks for hosting this, Danielle!

Jennifer Dee

Thank you for this lovely post Laurie. My favourite period is between the wars and I also like detective fiction so I am now off to look on Amazon for your books.

Jennifer Dee

I have just visited your web site which I found really interesting and will be going back again. I am interested in your conncection to Mary Russell: would this be Mary Doria Russell, or am I barking up the wrong tree so to speak?


Fascinating era. I just finished Touchstone, and have read all the Mary Russell series. The period between the 'great' wars is illuminating and endlessly useful.


This was such a wonderful post to read! I have only read the first book in the series, and that only recently so I feel as though I am embarking on a great adventure with Mary Russell.

M. L. Kiner

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.


I echo a lot of the praise given above to Laurie's work. Following her blog tour has be so enlightening, each stop gives me new insight into her talent.


Once again, many thanks to Laurie King for her insightful post, and thanks everyone for dropping by and leaving comments. I've really enjoyed this and I do recommend the Mary Russell series to those who've not yet discovered the books!


What a fantastic and thought-provoking post! I'm all the more eager to dig into this series again.

Carl V.

I sincerely doubt that she will. I'm sure she'll love them. I was almost positive she'd read the first one, as was she, but when she read the summary it didn't sound familiar. She has ordered the first one through the library and I'll imagine she'll be hooked. Danielle's site has been a gold mine to me for finding stuff my wife ends up loving, so I'm pretty confident this is a win-win situation.


I don't know how I've managed to avoid this series. I do have the first one on my shelves so I'm looking forward to reading it. I think it'll be great fun!


Avisannschild--I had let the books languish too long, too and am happy to have picked up another one. I will have to not let so much time pass again before reading the next.
Carl--I think your wife might like these books if she's interested in this period. Mary Russell is such an interesting and likeable character! I liked the first, but I loved the second. The first one is setting things up, so the mystery part seemed sort of secondary. I have a feeling the books just get better with each new installment. Please let me know what she thinks of them!
Iliana--I'm surprised you've not read her yet. I hope you like it when you get to it. They seem to be very addicting!

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