Sunday, February 14, 2021

On My Radar: Laurie R. King's Castle Shade


I've enjoyed Laurie R. King's Mary Russell mystery series ever since Mary tripped over Sherlock Holmes in The Beekeeper's Apprentice, and I always look forward to where Mary's adventures will take her next. If you get a chance, visit The Poisoned Pen Bookstore's Youtube channel and watch some of the events with Laurie. She and owner Barbara Peters have traveled together several times, and these events are always so much fun.

To get myself back on track, I smiled when I learned of Mary's new adventure. It seems that she's going to be taking on Dracula in Castle Shade. Let's find out more about the book, shall we?

Available June 8, 2021!


"A queen, a castle, a dark and ageless threat—all await Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in this chilling new adventure.

The queen is Marie of Roumania: the doubly royal granddaughter of Victoria, Empress of the British Empire, and Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. A famous beauty who was married at seventeen into Roumania’s young dynasty, Marie had beguiled the Paris Peace Conference into returning her adopted country’s long-lost provinces, singlehandedly transforming Roumania from a backwater into a force.

The castle is Bran: a tall, quirky, ancient structure perched on high rocks overlooking the border between Roumania and its newly regained territory of Transylvania. The castle was a gift to Queen Marie, a thank-you from her people, and she loves it as she loves her own children.

The threat is . . . well, that is less clear. Shadowy figures, vague whispers, the fears of girls, dangers that may be only accidents. But this is a land of long memory and hidden corners, a land that had known Vlad the Impaler, a land from whose churchyards the shades creep.

When Queen Marie calls, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are as dubious as they are reluctant. But a young girl is involved, and a beautiful queen. Surely it won’t take long to shine light on this unlikely case of what would seem to be strigoi?

Or, as they are known in the West . . . vampires.

I always enjoy how King uses her settings, and since I am familiar with both the time frame and Queen Marie of Roumania, I'm even more intrigued. How many other fans of Laurie R. King are reading this post and adding Castle Shade to their wish lists? Come on, now-- 'fess up!


  1. Hmm...this does look interesting, Cathy. Normally, I dislike follow-ons and follow-on series, but somehow, King's Mary Russell series doesn't fall in that same category in the same way for me. She's very good at what she does.

  2. I'm a sucker for anything remotely connected to the Sherlock Holmes character, but not so much for vampires. I'll have to look for that earlier book.

    1. I loved The Beekeeper's Apprentice, and one thing that I know is that King will have an interesting-- and non-supernatural-- take on vampires.

  3. I've been a Russell fan since that 1st book also, and already have Castle Shade on my list. As you said, it will be interesting to see what LRK does with the setting, and the thoughts of both Russell and Holmes on the subject of vampires.

    1. I remember LRK talking about her research trip for this book at one of her events at The Poisoned Pen.

  4. I always enjoy Laurie King's Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell books, and I've fallen well behind. This one sounds like a winner, however. Thanks for the heads up


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