Book Notification

Mary Russell(& Sherlock Holmes) Mysteries Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Books

The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Monstrous Regiment of Women (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Letter of Mary (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Moor (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
O Jerusalem (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Justice Hall (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Game (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Locked Rooms (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Language of Bees (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The God of the Hive (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beekeeping for Beginners (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pirate King (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Garment of Shadows (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dreaming Spies (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Marriage of Mary Russell (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Murder of Mary Russell (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mary Russell's War (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mary's Christmas (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Island of the Mad (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Riviera Gold (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Castle Shade (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lantern's Dance (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Chronological Order of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Books

The events of O Jerusalem take place towards the end of The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

Publication Order of Mary Russell Non-Fiction Books

The Mary Russell Companion (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Mary Russell is the protagonist of a series of detective novels written by Laurie R. King based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. The mystery series include thirteen novels from 1915 to the latest in 2015 set in Japan and Oxford. The author has been successful in bringing alive a character with whom the reader can relate. Mary Russell travels in search of truth and quest taking with her the reader on a roller coaster ride of inquiry, curiosity and bafflement.


Born on 2nd January 1900 Mary Russell has grown to be a detective to reckon with. From a collection of written memoirs, Mary Russell reveals a character with great strength and intelligence replete with cognitive and logical reasoning very akin to Sherlock Homes under whom she received her initial training. Being just 15 and Sherlock Holmes as her mentor in Sussex Down, she was able to gain experience and training as his companion. Holmes was able to transfer his genius to a woman detective who could do as well as him and sometimes even better. Seven years through her journey of learning, exploring and solving the toughest of mysteries, the wedding knot in 1921 was, of course, a very interesting event, binding two intelligent characters of the same genre. The character of Holmes, thus, has not just got enclosed in the bee hive, but got relived in the character of Mary. The female form of Sherlock Holmes, thus, moves on an interesting journey of mysterious events to explain and solve many complicated cases. Not breaking ties with the other characters attached to Holmes, Dr. Watson becomes her uncle and Mrs. Hudson as a mother figure. As she moves along she encounters many historical figures and fictional figures that make reading so intense and varied. So, we get to meet Kim, Peter Wimsey and many more characters along the way.


Being the daughter of a Jewish mother and an American father, she was greatly influenced by Jewish tradition. Her intelligence gets her through the Oxford University, where subjects like chemistry along with theology grabs her curiosity. What interests the reader about her character is her personality as drawn by the author. She has a charming persona tall, slim and blonde with twinkling blue eyes. Can any reader of Canon Doyle’s ever forget the twinkle in Sherlock Holmes eyes? Well, here we have that twinkle transferred that keeps the reader hypnotized as she moves through the mystery. Her sense of humor is also effective and is derived from Holmes wit. There are many places where the reader could break into a knowing smile at the way she matches her wit with the grand old detective’s. Her unassuming talent of using firearms and working her ways in adverse surroundings, jumping escaping through alleys and rooftops and adopting strategies makes her character stronger than Holmes sometimes and very modern.

Being a woman, who is so well read and well versed in many languages ranging from Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, German, Spanish, Arabic and Hindi, she becomes the ideal detective of the 21st century. Her abilities to stand up for the rights of women very early in her career in the famous A Monstrous Regiment of Women’ which questions the position of women in the Church are appreciable. In a discussion of a passage from the Christian Bible, her opinion on the thought that -women should keep silence in church; for they are not permitted to speak, but should subordinate, as the law says… -is instant and spontaneous. Her studies revealed that it is a constituted thought to refer to God as masculine. As the mouthpiece of the writer she strongly feels that equality is what should be the essence of life. This fight for equality, perhaps, has been party to the inception of Mary Russell as a female detective.


Traveling to solve mysteries along with Mary and Holmes worldwide in foreign lands makes interesting locales for the mystery series. Travelling from San Francisco to India to Japan and weaving the plot in the most meticulous manner with characters and descriptions that make scenes stand right before the eyes of the reader is the writer’s talent. There are vivid accounts of shipboard life and the realistic descriptions of Japanese scenery along with its traditional and social hierarchy that make fascinating reading for those who think of the east as a mystic land. In The Game (1924), she explores the British Raj in the land of India, which is rich in description of the Maharaja way of life and the Indian land of magic, the Dalai Lama and a host of other interesting facts about the land. In The Moors (1923) Mary brings alive the famous hound and the ghostly mystery is once again in the forefront engulfing the reader with detailed descriptions of the moors.


Most of the mystery series are written in the first person narrative to solidify the themes. The first two books in the series are about her life from fifteen to twenty one and the later books are about her life after twenty one to twenty seven. Using the first person narrative the female Sherlock Holmes is able to make the reader relate to her point of view and the reader sails in the feelings and the thought process of the protagonist, keeping him forever engaged in solving the mystery with her. Reasoning and logically finding the route to come to the correct solution becomes the effort of the reader as Mary pulls him along every turn of events.

On the whole the character of Mary Russell is a highly absorbing character in a substantive plot caught in weird societies and milieus. In the words of the author, “That poor woman is forever dropped in a cold place: cold and dry in the desert, cold and wet in Dartmoor, cold and inside a country house. I keep trying to get her to warm the place….” However, somehow Mary is always stuck in a fog, clearing it, then, becomes her obsession. Well, the picture of the fog and London is what Sherlock Holmes was all about…

Book Series In Order » Characters » Mary Russell(& Sherlock Holmes) Mysteries

2 Responses to “Mary Russell(& Sherlock Holmes) Mysteries”

  1. Deborah Spalding: 3 years ago

    I know that I had read this , but am now unable to find the title . Which book resolves the reason that they had to flee to Palestine ?

    • Melissa: 3 years ago

      Hi Deborah,
      During the first book, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Holmes and Russell flee to Palestine. Readers are not told what occurs there in that book– those events take place in O Jerusalem. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice simply tells us they leave and then how things are resolved when they return. You can read The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by itself and miss nothing. However, if you want things chronologically, you can read The Beekeeper’s Apprentice up to the point that they leave, then switch and read the entirety of O Jerusalem, then go back to The Beekeeper’s Apprentice to see the resolution. I hope this clears it up and makes some sense.


Leave a Reply