Companion Supplement

The Russell Companion gives background to the Mary Russell Memoirs.  In turn, this web page gives background to the Companion, with links to videos, biographies, and generally interesting places on the web that touch upon the Memoirs.  Other background and links can be found on each book’s page.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

In this video talk and interview to the Gavilan College creative writing class, Laurie talks about how she got started writing and how The Beekeeper’s Apprentice came to fruition. And if you’d like Laurie to read you a bit of Beekeeper’s Apprentice, drop in here.

You might also like to see what John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson have to say about the art of beekeeping.


Monstrous Regiment

Monstrous Regiment begins in a hansom cab, a fine piece of Victorian technology, read about it here.

As for the, ahem, end result of having 50,000 horses hauling people and goods all over London, read about the Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894.

And when this article says that “London’s very last horse cab license was surrendered on the 3rd April 1947,” we know who had that last one, don’t we? (Let’s see, Holmes would have been 86 at the time…)

There’s also a lot of historical information on the Mary Russell’s World page.


Letter of Mary

Religious mysteries, featuring sleuths who are also priests, nuns, rabbis, and the like, let a writer explore greater mysteries while telling a mystery. So, why does a theologian turn to crime? And are modern crime writers who do so simply continuing the tradition of the Medieval mystery play? And was that tradition linked to the earliest recorded legal thriller, Susanna and the Elders?


The Moor

Baring-Gould was in love with Dartmoor (now a national park) and although he wrote fiction about the moor, much of his “non- fiction” stretches belief rather a lot.

Arthur Conan Doyle was not always the biggest fan of his creation—in this video, he is far more interested in his Spiritualist studies than in Holmes. And it would be nice to think that he’d met Sabine Baring Gould when he went to Dartmoor, although if he did, he surely would not have been able to resist using Lewtrenchard Manor house, with its murals of the Virtues including Investigatio:

O Jerusalem

The characters in the novel are as varied as the land: Two apparent Bedouin who take Russell and Holmes under their wings—er, robes; the bigger-than-life Edmund Allenby; an archaeologist (who later gives Russell A Letter of Mary); T. E. Lawrence has a brief cameo in O Jerusalem, in his role as Arab hero politician rather than archaeologist.


Justice Hall

During the Great War, British men and boys as young as 17 arrived in France and were faced by this. They wrote letters home from the Front.  Some of them ended up like this (this is not a video for the faint of heart.) Others broke down, dropped their rifles, did not acknowledge orders, or fled–306 of those British men were convicted of desertion and cowardice, and shot at dawn.

Badger Place has its roots in a number of English country houses, such as Broughton “Castle” and Owlpen Manor (whose buildings have been subjected to a study of dendrochronology!)


The Game

The Grand Trunk Road, running across the north of India from Calcutta to Peshawar, is the country’s main artery.

Grand Trunk Road

Grand Trunk Road

Pakistani truck on Grand Trunk Road

Pakistani truck on Grand Trunk Road


And although the Raj is long gone, perhaps men on horses still go pigsticking—although most of us will only experience the sport vicariously.


Rudyard Kipling’s Kim is pulled between the English spymaster, “Colonel Creighton” (based on Thomas Montgomerie) and the boy’s beloved Tibetan red-hat lama.

Holmes’ trip into Tibet was decades before the Francis Younghusband 1904 expedition.

Some early Intelligence reports on the Empire’s frontier.

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet


Locked Rooms

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Laurie’s grandparents, in the great quake.

In this 360 degree panorama, Lafayette Park, Mary Russell’s post-fire refuge, can be seen towards the left.

The tent city in Golden Gate Park.

The area south of San Francisco where the accident occurs is known as Devil’s slide, for good reason.


The Language of Bees

The psychotherapeutic roots of Surrealist Art.

The Ring of Brodgar, in the Orkneys.

The oddities of the Twenties:

– The Moonella Naturalist Group.

– Arthur Conan Doyle’s passion, Spiritualism.

– London in the Twenties.


God of the Hive

British espionage between the wars.

Mansfield Smith-Cumming, Vernon Kell, Reilly, ace of spies—even children’s author Arthur Ransome.

Dottyville” for shell-shocked officers, in Edinburgh.

One wounded officer, Siegfried Sassoon.

The London that confuses Holmes was shaped by the German Zeppelin, whose raids opened vast areas of London to re- building.


Pirate King


Sherlock, Jr.:

British films of the Twenties.

Brigantines, the boat of the brigands.

The Lisbon castle.

Fernando Pessoa, Poet Laureate of Portugal?


Garment of Shadows


Hubert Lyautey

The truck?

Raisuli in the news

The Rif Revolt

Morocco in the Twenties



Beekeeping for Beginners

Spitalfields Market

A map of the Great War Zeppelin raids