A Chronology of the Russell Memoirs

The Russell Memoirs—which her community of readers call the Kanon (in parallel to “the Canon” of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories)—include novels, novellas, short stories, and mini-stories.  In order of publication, with abbreviated references, they are:


  1. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (1994) BEEK
  2. A Monstrous Regiment of Women (1995) MREG
  3. A Letter of Mary (1997) LETT
  4. The Moor (1998) MOOR
  5. O Jerusalem (1999) OJER
  6. Justice Hall (2002) JUST
  7. The Game (2004) GAME
  8. Locked Rooms (2005) LOCK
  9. The Language of Bees (2009) LANG
  10. The God of the Hive (2010) GOTH
  11. Pirate King (2011) PIRA
  12. Garment of Shadows (2012) GARM
  13. Dreaming Spies (2015) DREA
  14. The Murder of Mary Russell (2016) MURD
  15. Island of the Mad (2018) ISLA
  16. Riviera Gold (2020) RIVI
  17. Castle Shade (2021) CAST
  18. The Lantern’s Dance (2024) LANT

Short stories (collected in Mary Russell’s War)

Mrs Hudson’s Case (1997)  HUD
A Venomous Death (2009) VEN
My Story  (2009) MYS
Birth of a Green Man (2010) BIR
A Case in Correspondence  (2010) CAS
Beekeeping for Beginners (2011) B4B
Mary’s Christmas (2014)  MAR
Mary Russell’s War (2015)  WAR
The Marriage of Mary Russell (2016)  MMR
Stately Holmes (2016) STA

Other short stories

The Customer (2017) CUS
Ten Years On (2020) TEN

A Chronology of the Russell Memoirs

The Memoirs are intended to be read in order of publication, however, many Friends of Russell enjoy reading them in the order they actually took place. The internal chronology is as follows:

Before the meeting:

Portions of The Lantern’s Dance (#18) go back (via a diary) to the 1830s.

The Murder of Mary Russell (#14) contains back-story, from 1855 to 1881, for Mrs Hudson and a young Sherlock Holmes.

Locked Rooms (#8) contains Mary Russell’s events in 1906 and 1914.

“Mary’s Christmas” is from 1911.

“Mary Russell’s War” is young Mary Russell’s 1914-1915 journal.

From 1915 on:

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice opens in April 1915 and covers the four years of Russell’s apprenticeship, ending in August, 1919.

O Jerusalem is set within the time frame of Beekeeper’s Apprentice (published out of sequence so as to tie in with Justice Hall) covering December 1918 to February 1919.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women begins on December 26, 1920 and ends in February, 1921 (with after-notes that reach forward some months).

(The long gap in the Memoirs, the thirty months from February, 1921 to August, 1923, is a time that clearly contains much of private concern to Miss Russell.  She has, as yet, not chosen to share this time with her reading public, apart from “The Marriage of Mary Russell” in 1921, “Birth of a Green Man” from the early 1920s, and the 1923 case “A Venomous Death”.)

A Letter of Mary takes place from mid-August to early September, 1923.

The Moor starts towards the end of September, 1923, and ends in early November.

Justice Hall covers from Guy Fawkes Day (November 5) to December 21, 1923, with an epilogue five days later.

The Game begins January 1, 1924 and ends in early March 1924.

The Japan portion of Dreaming Spies takes place in April, 1924.

Locked Rooms takes place between May and early June 1924, although it also contains events from 1906 and 1914.

[The Art of Detection, a novel not generally included in the Russell Memoirs, includes a June, 1924 case Holmes had in San Francisco while Russell was in Los Angeles.  Her own events during this time may see future publication.]

The Language of Bees covers a three-week period, from August 10 to August 30, 1924.

God of the Hive, being a continuation of LANG, picks up on August 30 and finishes the case on September 9, 1924, with an epilogue dated Oct. 31, 1924.

Pirate King takes place in the last three weeks of November 1924.

Garment of Shadows covers the closing weeks of 1924, and sees January dawn in 1925.

[Events of January-March 1925 have yet to be revealed.]

Dreaming Spies opens in March 1925, although much of the action takes place a year earlier, in April and May 1924.

The Murder of Mary Russell also has two time frames: the modern one of May 1925, and Mrs Hudson’s story from 1855 to 1881.

Island of the Mad covers most of June, 1925.

Riviera Gold is most of July, 1925

Castle Shade covers August, 1925.

The Lantern’s Dance goes from September 8-13, with earlier portions going back to 1835.

Short stories:

“Mary’s Christmas” opens at an unspecified time (possibly 1921) but talks about events of Russell’s childhood, primarily from August-December, 1911.

“Mary Russell’s War” is Russell’s wartime journal kept from August 4, 1914 to April 6, 1915.

“Beekeeping for Beginners” opens on April 8, 1915, telling the story of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice but from Sherlock Holmes’ point of view.  It ends shortly after the first Zeppelin bombardment of London, May 31, 1915.

“Mrs Hudson’s Case” is set in October 1918.

“The Marriage of Mary Russell” takes place in February 1921, just after the events of A Monstrous Regiment of Women.

“Birth of a Green Man” is undated, although it would appear to be some time in the early 1920s.

A Venomous Death” is undated, but may take place in early summer, 1922 or 1923.

My Story” and “A Case in Correspondence” are modern, but mention the 1924 events in God of the Hive.

“Ten Years On” begins April 8, 1925.

“Stately Holmes” is set in December, 1925.

My Story” and “A Case in Correspondence” take place in the spring of 1992, but talks about the 1924 events in God of the Hive.

“The Customer” finds Russell and Holmes visiting America, in 1995.

[Note: “My Story,” “A Case in Correspondence,” and “The Customer” describe events in 1992 and 1995, when Russell is 92 and 95, while Holmes a fairly astonishing—and remarkably spry—131 years of age in the first two, and 134 in the last.  For those who have trouble believing this, one must point out that the Times of London, the paper of record in the British world, has yet to publish a Sherlock Holmes or Mary Russell obituary.]


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