Marriage before Murder

“The Marriage of Mary Russell” started, as many of my more interesting projects seem to, with a conversation with my editor. Was there by any chance, she asked, a short story I’d like to write? One that Random House could use as an e-short, during the build-up to The Murder of Mary Russell, to tease new readers into Russell’s world?

Now, I find short stories a whole lot of work. They don’t take as long as a novel, obviously, but the creation of a world takes energy, whether that world lasts for 50 pages or 450. So if it had just been a matter of providing my publisher with sales fodder, the answer would have been thanks, but no.

However. A short story is also a way to tell small tales, or to explore gaps left by novels, or simply to play with ideas. A story about a particular time in the life of my protagonists interested me. So I said yes.

marriage of mary russell_sm

This business of attracting new readers becomes a growing problem, the longer a series goes. I mean, I love all you guys. Your enthusiasm boosts my spirits on even the bleakest days, and you’re really good about telling your friends HEY THIS IS A GREAT BOOK YOU HAVE TO READ IT RIGHT NOW! However, word of mouth is only one of the ways books get around, and publishing only works if a person keeps growing her readership. So I told my editor I’d be happy to write them a new story to dangle in front of peoples’ noses and infect them with the Russell contagion—er, bring them into Russell’s world, because I knew this story would make you guys happy as well.

During the fall, as I was working on the novel, I was aware of this story simmering away in the back of my head. Unlike some stories, where I can go wherever I want to, this one had certain things it needed to do:

  1. Because The Murder of Mary Russell has a lot about Mrs Hudson in it, I wanted this short story to involve her as well—with a gentle hint of the lady’s unexpected depths.
  2. Because this series forms Russell’s memoirs (until she, um, dies) the story had to capture her voice: wit, snark, dry humo(u)r, ornate vocabulary, and a suspicion of double entendre in some of her most matter-of-fact statements (“Did she just say…?”)
  3. Because more people know Sherlock Holmes than know Mary Russell (I know, hard to believe, right?) the Holmes in this story needed to be spot-on, despite the completely foreign idea of that gentleman and…marriage.
  4. Humor. And humour. Because why read Laurie King if she doesn’t make you snort, or at least chuckle?
  5. For devoted fans of Russell & Holmes, stories like this offer me a chance to fill in a few of the gaps left by novels. And really, who doesn’t want to know about the wedding?
  6. Finally, it’s about a marriage. So although there’s no more overt [(S*X)] here than any of the other memoirs, the reader needs to be aware—needs to see Russell being aware—that marriage, even to a thinking machine, just might have a physical side to it.

I say no more.

Other than: with all these requirements, I am happy with the story. In fact, my feeling is: Nailed it!

At first it’ll only be an e-book, although later in the year it might appear in print.

Release date is March 15. You can pre-order it now, so it pops into your e-reader that morning, for Kindle and Nook (the other formats will come.)

And maybe you’ll even tell your friends they HAVE TO READ IT, too….


  1. Kate Martino says:

    I so plan on getting this story as soon as possible. Along with a certain infinity scarf, I’d say I’m bound to have a lovely birthday this March.

  2. Going to pre-order it RIGHT NOW!!!

  3. I will have to await it in print — I’m not an e-reader person. So, hopefully it won’t be TOO long, before the print version is available!

    • Nanette Furman says:

      I have a Kindle reader on my computer so I can read e-books without another piece of tech to haul around. If it is reading on screen that is a problem that doesn’t solve it, but it is buying an e-reader- I love this solution.

    • Ah, I agree with LJ, for my husband and I also must await print on paper. We octogenarians love to curl up with a real book!

  4. You tend your garden well, and are generous with its bounty.
    I will savor this.

  5. This is part of the Russell/Holmes story I’ve always wanted to know. I pre-ordered as soon as it came out. A friend got me hooked on the series, and I in turn got my husband hooked.

    Now we’ll fight over who gets the story first! 🙂

  6. Diane Hendricksen says:

    I love it when you and other authors write short stories to fill in the gaps between books, or to add more to a character’s background. I have pre-ordered The Marriage of Mary Russell and look forward to reading it as I await The Death of Mary Russell.

  7. Thanks Laurie of a wonderful birthday gift. I will order as a present to myself as soon as it appears.
    Best Wishes,

  8. Merrily Taylor says:

    Speaking of your fanatic fans, I will just say if that scene on the dock didn’t awake Russell to the fact that marriage might have a physical side to it, than she’s been too distracted by her studies at Oxford! And we shall not even speak of the “Bolt-hole moment,” which certainly got my pulses pounding. But then, it may be that I am easily excited…
    All this by way of saying I CAN’T WAIT!

  9. Really looking forward to this additional gem. In fact, it is already noted on my calendar.

  10. Ana Alvarez says:

    Please also do the audible version. I enjoy hearing this series very much. It forces me not to skim to get to the ending and the visuals from the descriptive words are awesome.

    • Laurie King says:

      A mere author has little say on audible versus not, but I think Recorded Books have plans for an audio here, yes.

  11. Done! I will be waiting for the news that my pre-ordered short story is here!!
    We’ll call it an Un-Birthday Present… 🙂

  12. Pat Hathaway says:

    I was always a little disappointed that the marriage was skipped over so I can’t wait to read this. My adult daughter and I love the Mary Russell and Sherlock books so I’ll be sure to let her know about this short e-book too. Now I have two MR books on pre-order from Amazon. LOL Looking forward to reading them when they come.

  13. Janis Kiehl Harrison says:

    Been waiting for this to be available. I just about never pre-order,, at full price no less(!), but I think I have to have it soonest.

  14. Christine Zarnsy says:

    Oh, Laurie! You have me grinning ear to ear! The humor, subtle emotions and Holmes…I can’t wait. This is a series that I just can’t get enough of, you are the best!

  15. Bantam E ordered, pending A&B version being listed! ?

  16. It’s coming out on my birthday. That must mean something. 🙂 Looking forward to it and my husband and I are planning to see you at Anderson’s in Naperville in April. Just waiting for them to get the sign up up so we can, well, sign up. 🙂


  17. Richard Sveum says:

    I don’t e-book so please get it into print as soon as possible!

  18. Just pre ordered it, can’t wait to read it.

  19. Oh, I do hope Watson gets to attend. I want to see his reaction to finding out his old friend is getting married- and not as a ruse this time!

  20. Consider me another fan hoping for a print edition. They look so nice on my bookshelf I would like to add this to my collection, and of course I’m dying to read about the wedding!

  21. Margaret Wood says:

    Whoopee! An audio version to come! Thank you so much.

  22. Margaret Wood says:

    PS I want the print version, too.

  23. Declare the Ides of March… to be Russell Day

  24. annielaurie says:

    Oh, dear. If the only way I can get my “fix” of Mary Russell is to buy a Kindle, so be it. I’m off to Best Buy!

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