The Mary Russell series is one of the most read and enjoyed detective novels. Written by author Laurie R. King, this book series has brought the most famous detective in the literary world, Sherlock Holmes, back into print.
Mary Russell is the lead of this book series. Her intellect and deduction skills can surpass Holmes’s skills. Reading about these two pairing up together is a treat to read.
There are twenty-one books in the series, including short stories. Here’s a list of all the Mary Russell books in reading order.
|Sr. No.||Title||Publication Date||Print Length||Publisher||Where to Buy|
|1||The Beekeeper’s Apprentice||May 27, 2014||368 pages||Picador||Amazon|
|2||A Monstrous Regiment of Women||September 1, 1995||326 pages||Minotaur Books||Amazon|
|3||A Letter of Mary||January 1, 1997||276 pages||St Martins Pr||Amazon|
|4||The Moor||January 1, 1998||307 pages||St. Martins Press||Amazon|
|5||O Jerusalem||June 1, 1999||384 pages||Bantam||Amazon|
|6||Justice Hall||March 26, 2002||352 pages||Bantam||Amazon|
|7||The Game||April 27, 2010||400 pages||Bantam||Amazon|
|8||Locked Rooms||July 8, 2010||488 pages||Allison & Busby||Amazon|
|9||The Language of Bees||April 28, 2009||448 pages||Bantam||Amazon|
|10||The God of the Hive||April 27, 2010||368 pages||Bantam||Amazon|
1. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” is a book that would be loved and enjoyed. It is appreciated not only by people who love Sherlock Holmes but any great detective novel with a strong female lead.
A great novel that works in almost every aspect, be it the writing style, the prose, the characters, and the entire plot. So what in the book should compel the readers to pick it up and start reading it?
Sherlock Holmes’s days of adventures have long gone. He is now retired and spends most of his time in the peaceful company of his bees. He never imagined he would find anyone who could match his intellect and deduction skills.
That was until he met Mary Sue Russell, a fifteen-year-old girl with intellect that rivals the great detective Sherlock Holmes. Holmes takes a liking to the girl and takes her as his pupil.
What leads next is an excellent string of mysteries, plot twists, and an adversary that tests the partnership of the teacher and the pupil.
Overall a great book, but we have one complaint. The way author Laurie R. King treated Watson was a bit unfair. He went from being an influential partner whose intellect helped and saved Holmes many times to just being a buffoon fit for comedic relief.
2. A Monstrous Regiment of Women
The second book develops the characters and introduces a plot with a much better and more gripping mystery than what was offered in the previous book.
“A Monstrous Regiment of Women” is about Mary Russell, who is about to reach adulthood and get into much more complex issues. So what is the story about?
Mary meets Margery Childe, and she is fascinated to see what she has to share about her lifestyle. She leads “The New Temple of God” with feminist members leaning towards Christianity.
Things take a sinister turn when four members are murdered, and no one knows who is behind the murders or what is the murderer’s motives. Mary takes the task of investigating the murders and finding out what is going on.
3. A Letter of Mary
With the third book in the series, the writing and the plot are getting even better. “A Letter of Mary” brings new angles and relationships, and it depends on the readers whether they like it or not.
When it comes to the plot of the book, there is nothing to complain about. Holmes and Mary meet an old archaeologist who brings a gift that could turn things upside down in the literary world. A papyrus believed to have been written by Mary Magdalene, the saint who saw Jesus’s Cruicification.
But right after this, the archaeologist dies in a very suspicious accident. Holmes and Mary set out to find out more about this accident and find out what is going on.
4. The Moor
The fourth book in the series, “The Moor,” will be a nostalgic treat for fans of Sherlock Holmes as it brings the elements of the ever-famous book “Hounds of Baskerville” back. A detective story with elements of horror and the supernatural is always an exciting read.
Sherlock Holmes summons Marry, now his partner in solving crimes and partner in life, to help solve a case that has baffled his mind. People living in Dartmoor have seen sights of a ghastly coach made of bones carrying a mysterious woman, long dead.
This woman was accused of murdering her husband, along with a hound with just one eye that glows. Read this brilliant book guaranteed to get you excited and nostalgic simultaneously.
5. O Jerusalem
“O Jerusalem,” the fifth book in the Mary Russell series, will bring readers a level of excitement they have never felt in the previous books in this series. The plot of this book has been crafted brilliantly; it is the highlight of this book.
That does not mean that the characters, the world-building, and other aspects of the books are weak in any sense. The world-building in this book has been done brilliantly.
Holmes and Russell travel to Palestine and solve some enigmatic murder mysteries.
We do not want to give away too much of the plot. The best thing would be to pick this book and start reading.
6. Justice Hall
“Justice Hall” is the sixth novel in the series, and it again works wonderfully to capture readers’ attention. The fluid style in which King writes the prose and the detailed descriptions she gives that form the images in the readers’ minds is the main highlight of the story.
7. The Game
“The Game” brings the detective duo to the mystical and mysterious land of India. Their reason for visiting? To find a missing spy who once was a close friend of Holmes. Kimble O’Hara was in something called “The Great Game” of espionage and has gone missing without any trace.
Holmes and Russell set out to discover where the missing spy is and who is responsible for his disappearance.
8. Locked Rooms
“Locked Rooms” is the perfect title for the eighth book in the series. The entire Mary Russell series has primarily focused on solving mysteries, crimes, and other enigmas. This book takes a different turn.
“Locked Rooms” explores the psyche and past of Mary Russell and what happened to her in her childhood. Things start to take a convoluted turn when crimes from the past erupt, and Holmes must find more about it to find a resolution.
9. The Language of Bees
After returning home from a long trip, Holmes and Mary are devastated after discovering that one of the colonies of Holmes’s beloved bees has disappeared. But as the story continues, things start to take an even more perplexing and sinister turn.
Damian Alder, Sherlock’s son, comes to them as he needs help finding his missing wife and son. But it is just one of the many mysteries Mary meets in this book. Things turn sinister when a murderer is on the loose, and her life could be in danger.
10. The God of the Hive
“The God of the Hive” ups the excitement and thrill and takes the dangers to another level. A dangerous murderer is on the hunt, looking for Holmes and Mary. It seems that nothing can stop this killer.
Things get even more dangerous when Mary and Holmes are separated, making them an easier target. This nail-biting story is all about solving crimes, saving lives, and an enthralling mystery that will keep you hooked on the novel.
11. Beekeeping for Beginners
“Beekeeping for Beginners” is not a full-fledged novel but more of a short story that tells how Sherlock Holmes met his future wife, Mary Russell. While readers are already aware of their meeting, this short story gets into more detail.
A fun short story that readers would love as this story is told from the point of view of Russell.
12. Pirate King
Pirate King is one of the most polarizing books in the series. Either you are going to love this book for the complicated plot, or you are going to hate it for the same reason.
Some people have loved the book for the intricate plot that spans various places, situations, and characters. There are so many things happening, and fans of the series will feel a slight tonal shift.
Pick the book and find out whether you love this book, hate it, or if it feels just the same as the previous ones.
13. Garment of Shadows
“Garment of Shadows” offers an excellent espionage mystery that develops well with proper structure. The characters are brilliant as well, and the development of Mary Russell and Holmes goes well too.
But what lacks here is a good murder mystery. If you are one of those people who just want to read a good old-fashioned murder mystery, you will feel disappointed. There is a lack of excitement in this book which is difficult to explain.
14. Dreaming Spies
Russell and Sherlock have been around the world, from the oriental lands of India to the bustling city of San Francisco. But this book takes the detective sleuths and readers to the country they have wanted to visit; Japan.
Holmes and Russell receive a small decorative stone with something written on it. This event sends the duo to the beautiful lands of Japan, and the world-building done by the King is excellent.
15. The Marriage of Mary Russell
Another short story that is perfect for the series fans, “The Marriage of Mary Russell,” is a detailed account of the marriage of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell.
From the proposal to the ceremony, fans of the series would love to read the entire saga of Holmes and Russell getting married.
16. The Murder of Mary Russell
One of the most enjoyed books in the series, “The Murder of Mary Russell,” has exactly what the title says; the murder of Sherlock Holmes’s beloved wife. But there is more to the plot than what the title says.
Mrs. Hudson is also involved in the story, and exploring the past of Mrs. Hudson holds the key to solving the reason behind the murder of Mary Russell.
17. Mary Russell’s War
“Mary Russell’s War” is a collection of nine short stories that tell the crime-solving tales of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. A quick and enjoyable read with the right amount of suspense and thrill.
18. Island of the Mad
Readers waiting for a great murder mystery in the series can rejoice as “Island of Mad” is what they need. A great murder mystery with a complicated and enjoyable plot.
19. Riviera Gold
The penultimate book to the series, “Riviera Gold,” offers a great mix of mystery, world-building, and storytelling. King’s writing style and the way she crafts the prose will make you invested in the book even more deeply.
20. Castle Shade
The last book in the series as of now, “Castle Shade,” is one of the most intriguing and most complexly crafted stories in the entire series. There is tension on every page of this book, and it is a treat to read about how the combined intellect of Russell and Holmes tackle the challenges.
So that was the list of all the books in the Mary Russell series. Pick the books and start reading if you want to start a great detective novel. What could be better than the Sherlock Holmes stories? Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell stories!