Meeting Queen Marie

I met Queen Marie during a trip to Eastern Europe in the fall of 2018.  My friends who own the Poisoned Pen bookshop in Scottsdale talked me into it.  Not that it was difficult.  They said that they were going and asked if I wanted to join them and I had never been on a cruise, and it was on a river and I thought, sure, why not?

Anyway, with that amount of deliberation and pre-planning, and with a full load of writing until the minute I got on a plane, you can understand that my research was less than complete.

I mean hey, this was a holiday.  It’s all about the surprises, right?

So off I schlep to Bucharest, and a couple days later we pile our way into some buses and drive up  into the Carpathian mountains, with a guide who tells us all kinds of interesting things and leads us up a hill to this crazy little castle, and inside it I spot a photo (at the right, below) and hear the guide talking about this English-born Romanian Queen…in the 1920s…and I say: hmm.

So yes, I decided that Queen Marie of Romania could well meet a certain detecting woman and her husband.  And so she did.

And because this little castle up in the Carpathians is in Transylvania, and because we all know what Transylvania is known for–in the world of fiction, at any rate–Bram Stoker’s fantasies enter in.

But I’m not giving away any spoilers.  Instead, let’s see Marie with her people, during the War—

And in an interview, here–

And we also meet her daughter, Princess Ileana, who has a charming accent, and a pair of mischievous ponies, seen here five years after Castle Shade:


Castle Shade will be out June 8, here. You can get a copy signed from Bookshop Santa Cruz and Poisoned Pen, or unsigned from your local Indie bookshop, or Barnes & Noble or Amazon.


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  1. Laura Stratton on May 2, 2021 at 11:32 am

    I can’t wait to read Castle Shade but I’m planning to do a little research into Queen Marie of Romania first!

    • Laurie King on May 4, 2021 at 11:58 pm

      Good idea!

  2. Beverly on May 2, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Happened upon a museum dedicated to Queen Marie of Rumania in the middle of nowhere in the state of Washington about 20 years or more ago. Nothing around it. Very strange! Had to visit! And it was indeed a museum in her honor! Clothing. Memorabilia. Furniture. All of which, it was stated, belongs to the Queen.

    • Laurie King on May 4, 2021 at 11:57 pm

      Ys, isn’t that an unlikely place for a Marie museum? And she traveled across the country to it, in 1926, with Ileana and one or two of her sons. Imagine.

  3. ANNEMARIE Coyne on May 2, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    The short films are very interesting! I cannot wait to read Castle Shade, especially since I am a peer editor for the journal, Dracula.

    • Laurie King on May 4, 2021 at 11:55 pm

      Oh how great–I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Louise Clark on May 2, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you, Laurie!!!

  5. Linda P-C on May 2, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    It’s just wonderful to have this book to look forward to – thank you!

  6. Barbara Ramp on May 3, 2021 at 6:56 am

    Very excited to read the new book! These wonderful clips and the voice of Princess Ileana will certainly enhance the voice and pictures in my mind as I read! Thank you for sharing.

    • Laurie King on May 4, 2021 at 11:53 pm

      Aren’t they great clips? Love the horses…

  7. Denise Tymon on May 5, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Thank you, Laurie! I cannot wait for Castle Shade. Queen Marie is such an interesting person.
    While you were in the mountains, did you see the Sphinx? I would love to see the mountains and Bran!

    • Laurie King on May 6, 2021 at 11:38 am

      No, we didn’t get into that area, though it looks fascinating.
      Hope you get there!

  8. Eva Sciandra on June 9, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    I’m curious about why you chose to spell the country “Roumania” in the book when you are spelling it “Romania” on the blog. I can find no reference to the “Roumania” spelling in the limited research I did. I’m loving Castle Shade, as I have all of the books in this series. Thank you for bringing Mary Russell and her Holmes into my imagination.

    • Laurie King on June 9, 2021 at 5:08 pm

      Roumania is the old spelling used in England at various times, including the Twenties. Also Romania and Rumania. Which only adds to a researcher’s confusions….

      Glad you’re enjoying it!

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