Companion to Bees

An interesting aspect of  having a long-lived and highly detailed series of stories about a set of characters is how those characters take on lives of their own in the eyes of their readers–even if they don’t belong to an already established world such as that of Sherlock Holmes.  Circles within circles take form: Laurie King writes a novel about Mary Russell; Mary Russell expresses her bemusement about being taken as a fictional character; Mary Russell becomes rather more real in the minds of her readers than her “author” Laurie King.

Areas of overlap with “the Game” of ardent Sherlockians inevitably occur.  Such as, the personal and unexplained history of the Great Detective: 

The Language of Bees

Scopes monkey trial and Sister Aimee in America; Naturalists and Spiritualism; Houdini and fairy photographs and Ouija boards.

The Twenties are a long way from the world Holmes was born into.  A man his age has gone from gas lamps to neon lights; lantern slides to moving pictures; hansom cabs to aerial bomber planes: Victoria’s stiff upper lip has a joke moustache drawn on it.  In the Twenties, world has learned to speak the language of Surrealism—a language with roots in confusion and a vocabulary forged under the trauma of the Front.


And Holmes own son, it turns out, is among the most fluent speakers of this new tongue.  Damian Adler is a Surrealist artist.  A man who glories in confusion, who welcomes chaos and repudiates the analytical.  A man with almost nothing in common with Sherlock Holmes…except for their blood that runs in their veins.


If you’d like to read more about the Russell Memoirs “Game”, The Mary Russell Companion

is available here.



  1. Lloyd Russell on July 3, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Laurie, since I haven’t read any of your books yet – and I want to get started – what do you recommend I read 1st?

    • Laurie King on July 3, 2014 at 6:56 am

      You might start with Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

      • Lloyd Russell on July 3, 2014 at 6:57 am

        Will do. Thanks.

        • Libby Dodd on July 4, 2014 at 11:57 am

          Lloyd, you are in for a treat!

          • Lloyd Russell on July 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

            Just ordered it from my local bookstore, Village House of Books, yesterday. Can’t wait.

  2. Dottie Hulett on July 4, 2014 at 10:06 am

    The only thing that worries me in the companion is that in one section of the book, Mary, speaking as a 92 year old woman, talks about her living, much older husband. That’s a littler hard to swallow. I really want to believe that she is real…..she is in my imagination anyway!

    • Laurie King on July 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Hi Dottie–but he takes Royal Jelly, which keeps him young at…120?

  3. Linda Hay on July 5, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I check in with Sara Jane Down the Lane blog every once in a while and the May blog post has my head spinning, but you have to go to the very end to see what I’m referring to.

    I have to think that it’s a home-made blue plaque … still.

    • Laurie King on July 7, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Hi Linda, what fun, I’ll have to knock on the door next time I’m visiting Miss Russell and see who’s there now…

  4. K Spangler on July 7, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Is there any chance this book will ever be published in a physical format rather than just ebook form?

    • Laurie King on July 7, 2014 at 9:50 am

      The Companion may some day go into print, but considering the expense of many photographs, it won’t be for a while. Maybe Russell’s 25th anniversary…?

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