Russell #WHAT?

Those of you who’ve been following my Mutterings in recent months will have a good idea of why a book takes such a lllooooonng time from first draft to hardback on the shelf—but even my editor had to admit that it felt early to be talking about the NEXT Russell after Lantern’s Dance. But no, it isn’t that early. And so yes, we did talk.

Not that normal people like you will be anything but frustrated to think about a book you won’t see until 2025, and not that there’s much to say about it, but if I’m to write a book whose first draft is due in 4-5 months, even a non-outliner like me sort of needs to know what’s going on, in general terms.

And, it turns out, so does the Penguin Random House sales department.

So for them, and for you, here’s a vague idea.

It’s going to be about Uncle Jake.

Remember Uncle Jake? There’s one story about him and the throwing knife he gives a very young Mary Russell, called “Mary’s Christmas.” It’s the first story in the Mary Russell’s War collection (Holmes’ Christmas story, “Stately Holmes,” ends the book) and I’ve long wanted to do something else with Russell’s black sheep uncle.

Now I get to.

And, if you need to jog your memory (or maybe haven’t read it in the first place) you’re in luck because for this month only, I’m giving away an illustrated edition of the story as a free download, here. Enjoy!


  1. Chris on December 11, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Now. This is good news. Will try to focus on the upcoming book first, though!

    • Laurie King on December 17, 2023 at 1:00 pm

      Me too!

  2. Deborah Rothstein on December 15, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    I just reread all of the books, in preparation for the coming release, and I am stoked to hear more about uncle Jake!!!

    • Laurie King on December 17, 2023 at 1:01 pm


  3. K. Klein (No relation to Judith, alas) on December 15, 2023 at 1:55 pm

    Wow, what a Christmas Gift — to be promised something more about Uncle Jake! He has always remained in the back of my mind as someone I have always wondered about — in prison (gaol) or travelling the World. Can hardly wait to discover where he has been and how it will now fit into Russell’s life. Write On, Laurie!

    • Laurie King on December 17, 2023 at 1:01 pm

      I’ll be interested to see what he’s been up to.

  4. Linda Thorsen on December 15, 2023 at 2:38 pm

    It took me way too long to understand that the Mary Russell’s War story and the Mary Russell’s War collection were two different things, so while I THOUGHT I had read everything, I hadn’t. I eventually found Stately Holmes and I believe I read Mary’s Christmas but it’s clearly time for a reread.

    • Laurie King on December 17, 2023 at 1:03 pm

      Oh what a happy surprise–in the days before Google, I remember finding two new books by Reginald Hill I’d completely missed, like Christmas in July.

  5. Lynn Della on December 15, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    Laurie: Just read the Publishers Weekly piece–how very nice!

    I’ve been catching up on other Holmes writers lately and have been ruminating about the missing details of Holmes’ past, so am particularly interested to see what Mary provides us in The Lantern’s Dance!

    Keep up the excellent work!

    • Laurie King on December 17, 2023 at 1:03 pm

      Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Helen Martin on December 15, 2023 at 5:15 pm

    Concentrating on The Lantern’s Dance would make sense for us because we haven’t seen that yet, but to know that there is at least one more story upcoming beyond that is very satisfying to fans.
    On the other hand I just finished Back to the Garden and would not have been sad if the next planned project had been one involving Inspector Laing.
    Just enjoying MS King’s mostly wonderful writiing.

    • Laurie King on December 17, 2023 at 1:04 pm

      She’s next in the wings, for 2026–though that seems a long way off…

  7. Harmonii DuBois on December 15, 2023 at 9:07 pm

    I quite literally, began rereading the series of memoirs today. Specifically, I read them in chronological order & think…”Uncle Jake….hmmm…we need to hear from him again at some point!” Then I received this awesome email! Thank you.

    • Laurie King on December 17, 2023 at 1:04 pm

      Happy coincidence!

  8. Janice Ziv on December 15, 2023 at 10:48 pm

    I’ve been wanting to learn more about Uncle Jake since Mary’s Christmas first came out. Huzzah!

    • Laurie King on January 3, 2024 at 7:00 pm

      Me too!

  9. Nick Welch on December 17, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    Don’t we all wish we’d had an Uncle Jake???

    • Laurie King on January 3, 2024 at 7:00 pm

      I certainly would have enjoyed it.

  10. Janice on January 3, 2024 at 6:48 pm

    This is wonderful! the character of uncle jake is one of my favourites in the Russell series and I’d always hoped we would get more about him.

    • Laurie King on January 3, 2024 at 7:00 pm

      Looking forward to it!

  11. Kate on January 8, 2024 at 9:25 pm

    UNCLE JAKE! Finally! SO excited!

  12. Steve Gusinde on January 24, 2024 at 2:47 pm

    I have enjoyed the Russell/Holmes books from the very first. Now I find I must have missed something important.

    I just finished the stories in “Marry Russell’s War” and find in the explaination of how you became the literary agent for Mary Russell, that Holmes is still alive (and knocking about) in the year 1992. Where did this come from?

    Was there a piece in one of the intros that I missed explaining the longevity of Holmes? Please catch me up on this subject.

  13. Susan Chapman on March 29, 2024 at 6:30 pm

    I didn’t understand Holmes’ longevity either. He never speaks. I didn’t want to think that Russell was “losing it,” either. Maybe he’s with her magically or just in her heart and head.

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