Meeting the characters

I’m working my way through the final proof pages of Castle Shade (out in three months—hooray!)

…which means reading every word aloud, watching for mistakes and, more important, listening for oddities. I can only manage 50 or 60 pages a day, but I am finding small errors on nearly half the pages, even though it’s been edited and copyedited by several people. And although you’d think it’s irritating, seeing how much has got past us all, in fact it’s deeply satisfying, like baking out the impurities.
I’m also seeing the characters again, in their final forms, and remembering when I first encountered—for example—Queen Marie of Romania, seen here in the castle where the book is set, and wearing the pearls that play a role in the story:

And her youngest daughter, the Princess Ileana (who has the most charming accent):

These are two of the true-life characters in Castle Shade–like last year’s Riviera Gold had Lillie Langtry:

I hope you enjoy getting to know Romania’s queen and princess. Mary Russell sure did!

Castle Shade, out June 8, 2021, here.

Order a copy signed from Bookshop Santa Cruz and Poisoned Pen, or from your local Indie bookshop, or Barnes & Noble or Amazon.


  1. Karen Klein, no relation to Judith on March 9, 2021 at 9:09 am

    I read this while listening to ‘The Beekeeper’s Apprentice ‘. Your post reminded me how meticulous an author you are — giving voice, literally, to your characters and their story, ensuring their truths. During the pandemic, I have retreated repeatedly into the various adventures of Russell and Holmes. I welcome another addition. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift of creation.

    • Laurie King on May 5, 2021 at 12:13 am

      Always great to have an escape, isn’t it?
      Enjoy your reads and re-reads.

  2. Mary Ray Worley on March 10, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    I wish there were a way for you to sign my ebook!

    • Laurie King on May 5, 2021 at 12:12 am

      Happy to sign any new books from Bookshop Santa Cruz, but your own books need to wait til in your part of the world. If we ever travel again…

  3. Kaitlyn Bragdon-Roe on March 10, 2021 at 11:55 pm

    I just started re-listening to the Mary Russell series. I’m so excited to know there’s another on the way!

  4. Michelle Lumia on March 26, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Will Mary Russell, the scholar, with her non-celebrity friends and associates ever return?

    • Laurie King on May 5, 2021 at 12:10 am

      I suppose, since she’s on her way home. Though she may stop in Paris first, and who knows what she’ll find there?

  5. Arleen Carr on April 14, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    I am now readingThe Marriage of Mary Russell. In my Kindle edition on page 5 at 6% in the paragraph that begins, “As for the concerns of The Book of Common Prayer—” the passage discusses Mary’s views regarding having sex with Holmes. I have read it several times and I can’t understand whether she expects to engage in sexual activity or not. Since this is a May to September relationship this is an important topic.

    Because I enjoy the series I introduced Mary Russell to my mystery book club. I think everyone enjoyed the 1st book in the series. Thank you for your introduction of a female intellectual to rival the great Holmes, but also a woman who is fully equiped with emotional depth.

    Arleen Carr

    • Laurie King on May 5, 2021 at 12:08 am

      I’m glad your book club had fun with Mary Russell!
      As for the marriage ceremony, I suppose what she had in mind is the phrase “with my body I thee worship…”

Leave a Comment