Laurie’s Adventures in BEEKEEPERing

Well, April was certainly busy. Two conferences, two Beekeeper’s 30th celebrations, all the flights and hotels and chatter those involve—and, I even wrote a bunch of new words. Not here on Mutterings, unfortunately, maybe I should fix that.

As you may know, last year I decided to celebrate the anniversary of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice with a handful of live, day-long events. People who love Mary Russell have made a sprawling community in various corners of the planet, and although I get many kind notes suggesting that I should come to Maine or Oxford or North Dakota, it seemed to me that making myself available at four different spots across the US, one close to home and three attached to the crime conferences I often go to, would be a better use of my limited hours and the planet’s resources.

We’ve now had three Beekeeper’s Days: Santa Cruz (Feb 17) with lock-picker Matt Burrough, beekeeper Emily Broder, and Sherlockian Les Klinger; Seattle/Bellevue (April 10) again with Matt Burrough, and beekeeper Eli Ocheltree, and me talking with two friends, bookseller Barbara Peters and writer SJ Rozan; and Bethesda (April 25) with conservator Newbold Richardson talking about societal changes and Twenties clothing, martial artist Ayla Carlson demonstrating knife-throwing, and me talking with Sherlockian Peter Blau.

NOTE: There’s only one event left, in Nashville on August 27. That’s it (until the 40th anniversary in 2034?) Costume designer Ciciley Hoffman will show us Twenties clothing, guys from the Honeytree Meadery will bring bees, there’ll be a slide show of Travels with Russell, and I’ll be in conversation with the editor of The Strand, Andrew Gulli.

If you want to see me, come to Nashville. If you want to meet up with other Friends of Russell, then come to Nashville. If you want your books signed, want to shake my hand or give me a hug or tell me your story about meeting Mary Russell, come to Nashville.


So, Santa Cruz. We gathered in the Museum of Art and History on a drizzly February morning, cheered by coffee and pastries. Being the first of these events, I had NO idea how it would go—but I was cheered by the presence of some long-time Friends of Russell, who had come to my Bookshop Santa Cruz Lantern’s Dance event the night before—

who helped set up the tables before opening with all the swag—

I began things with a chat about writing The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and the amazing community that has grown around the Russell Memoirs, and introduced a few of the more familiar names from the Facebook group. Then Emily Bonder of the Santa Cruz Bee Company got us started, talking about the joy of bees and why she thinks Sherlock Holmes was fascinated by them.

Emily stayed on during lunch, to let people gather around the lively demonstration hive, and talk to her about the art of keeping bees. After lunch, catered most appropriately and deliciously by the Busy Bees—

—and a rousing game of Beekeeper Bingo—

—Locksport enthusiast Matt Burrough took the stage.

By day, Matt heads up a “red team” hired to challenge the security protocols of huge corporations such as Microsoft, but by night (literally, in Seattle-area pubs) he shares his wisdom in the recreational art of picking locks. Did you know that lockpicking was a sport? It is, and great fun! And if you’re interested in the nuts-and-bolts of all manner of locks, his book has it all.

Then, I sat down with my good friend and writing colleague Les Klinger, to talk about Mary Russell, Sherlock Holmes, how Les and I met, and the projects we’ve worked on together.

Last, these four events are about Community. And so in the afternoon, I asked anyone who particularly wanted to share their own meeting with Mary Russell to stand up and take a minute. Stories from funny to heartwarming, but always personal, speak to how Russell’s Friends reach out, to her and to each other.

And to me, the mere author.

An enormous thank you, to everyone who came, and everyone who loves the Russell tales.

Next I’ll do a report on the Bellevue event.


You can register for the Nashville event here. Currently there are 100 seats, but there is the possibility of a larger room if we sell out, so do bring your friends!


  1. Chris on May 4, 2024 at 2:46 pm

    It’s fun reading of this from afar (Greece, mostly, nowadays, not so much Scotland) and I recall the happy coincidence that I was able to make an event in Berkeley for GOTH as well as the subsequent UK tour date! That wasn’t yesterday. Go on, bring Mary to Greece, and see what she makes of island life!

    • Laurie King on May 5, 2024 at 5:51 pm

      Oh, Greece would definitely be fun, they could get up to a lot of trouble there–fingers crossed!

  2. Jo on May 5, 2024 at 11:07 am

    Santa Cruz was a blast. Thank you for the lovely event! I’ll cherish my memories and my signed copy of The Lantern’s Dance.

    • Laurie King on May 5, 2024 at 5:50 pm

      It was really fun–both the Lantern’s Dance event on Friday and Saturday’s extravaganza. Thanks for coming!

  3. Karen Cober on May 13, 2024 at 10:57 pm

    Will we hear from Anne Waverly again?

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