The backstory: My Story

“My Story”, a short story included in its entirety in The Mary Russell Companion, is the first part of the tale of how Laurie King came to have (and publish) the Russell Memoirs as novels. This excerpt (episode 9) also makes reference to a dwelling that will play a large role in next February’s Dreaming Spies:

My Story: episode 9

The house in Oxford to which we retreated was in the northern district of the town, a tree-studded neighbourhood of large brick houses inhabited by dons and their families. It is close enough to town that a stroll to the Bodleian and Radcliffe libraries, even with an arm full of books, is a pleasant interlude; it is far enough from the centre that the wrangle of bells on a Sunday morning is amusing, not headache-inducing.

My house is like its fellows from the outside, with high walls on all sides, a spacious gravel drive at the front, and a narrow turret glued onto one corner. The house and its garden are too nondescript for any passer-by to bother with a second glance, and as far as the neighbours are concerned, the owner is an independent older woman who spends much of her live travelling and working on her academic studies, which (it being Oxford) could be Romanian campanology or liver flukes of the upper Nile.

Many, many years before, Holmes had arrived at my student flat through an upper window, setting off an elaborate and circuitous traverse of Oxford’s roof-tops in the snow.  Fortunately for us, this time I was permitted to drive through the elaborate and circuitous city roads in the actor’s Mercedes.


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

is available here.



  1. Merrily Taylor on July 8, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Oh gosh…now I’m only more intrigued about “Dreaming Spies.” Which is the only thing, I guarantee, that could make me long for February, my most unfavorite month!

  2. Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig on July 8, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Heartfelt request- please do not subject Mary Russell to any other blows on the head causing loss of consciousness- you’ve used that plot twist so many times that the poor thing is lilely to develop dementia or at least memory loss!

  3. The Bold Flying Officer on July 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    An atmosphere with which I am acquainted (not that I attended Oxford, though – University of Life, me!) so I, too, look forward to February 2015. Meanwhile, I like the title (got the allusion) and look forward to a “ripping yarn” with cloak-and-dagger, rather than the gadgetry associated with 007 and Q (Major Boothroyd) some 40 years later.

Leave a Comment