Laurie R. King

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Laurie R. King
Born (1952-09-19) September 19, 1952 (age 69)
Oakland, California
Pen nameLeigh Richards
EducationB.A., M.A.
Alma materUniversity of California, Santa Cruz (1977)
Graduate Theological Union (1984)
Period1993 to Present
GenreDetective fiction
Notable awards
SpouseNoel Quinton King (1977-2009)

Laurie R. King (born September 19, 1952) is an American author best known for her detective fiction.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Oakland, California, King earned a degree in comparative religion from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1977 and a masters in theology from the Graduate Theological Union in 1984, where her thesis was on "Feminine Aspects of Yahweh". She later received an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific.[1]

Among King's books are the Mary Russell series of historical mysteries, featuring Sherlock Holmes as her mentor and later partner, and a series featuring Kate Martinelli, a lesbian police officer in San Francisco, California. Using the pseudonym "Leigh Richards", she has published a science fiction novel, Califia's Daughters (2004). Across these genres, she explores several humanist themes, including the effects of war on soldiers as they attempt to find their place when returning home. This is seen in several of the Mary Russel novels and overtly detailed in a comparison of the detectives in Keeping Watch (2003) and Touchstone (2007).[2]

She lives in Watsonville, California,[3] in the hills above Monterey Bay, southeast of Santa Cruz, California. From 1977 until his death in early 2009, she was married to the historian Noel Quinton King.[4] They are the parents of two children, Zoe and Nathan.


King's first book, A Grave Talent (1993), received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best First Novel[5] and a 1995 John Creasey Memorial Award.[6] This was followed by the 1996 Nero Award, for A Monstrous Regiment of Women,[7] the 2002 Macavity Award for Best Novel, for Folly,[8] the 2007 Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Mystery, for The Art of Detection,[9] and the 2015 Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel, for Dreaming Spies.[10] She has also been nominated for two Anthonys,[11] a Barry,[12] two additional Edgars, another Macavity, an Orange Prize,[13] and four RT Reviewers' Choice Awards.[14]

She was inducted into membership of The Baker Street Irregulars in 2010.[15][16]


Kate Martinelli mysteries[edit]

  • A Grave Talent (1993) ISBN 0-312-08804-3
  • To Play the Fool (1995) ISBN 0-312-11907-0
  • With Child (1996) ISBN 0-312-14077-0
  • Night Work (2000) ISBN 0-553-10713-5
  • The Art of Detection (2006) ISBN 0-553-80453-7 (Lambda Literary Award 2006)
  • Beginnings (2019) ISBN 9781732464728

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mysteries[edit]

Harris Stuyvesant and Bennett Grey series[edit]

(Historical novels of suspense, featuring FBI agent Harris Stuyvesant and injured British soldier Bennett Grey)

Non-series books[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Emrys, A. B. "Under Cover of Wartime: Disguised Murder in Works by Rennie Airth, Laurie R. King, Martha Grimes, and Anthony Horowitz." CLUES: A Journal of Detection 25.4 (Summer 2007): 53-63.


  1. ^ Townsend, Peggy. "The storyteller and the detective". UC Santa Cruz News. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  2. ^ Gillies, Mary Ann. 2020. Liminal Spaces in Laurie R. King’s Touchstone and Keeping Watch. In Maarit Piipponen, Helen Mäntymäki & Marinella Rodi-Risberg (eds.), Transnational Crime Fiction: Mobility, Borders and Detection, 153–168.
  3. ^ page 133, Great Women Mystery Writers, 2nd Ed. by Elizabeth Blakesley Lindsay, 2007, publ. Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-33428-5
  4. ^ "Noel King Obituary - Santa Cruz, CA | Santa Cruz Sentinel". 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  5. ^ "Edgar Awards". Mystery Writers of America. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  6. ^ "John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger". Crime Writers Association. Archived from the original on November 15, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  7. ^ "Nero Awards". The Wolfe Pack. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  8. ^ "Macavity Awards". Mystery Readers International. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  9. ^ "Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  10. ^ "Malice Domestic Convention - Bethesda, MD". Archived from the original on 2017-01-21. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  11. ^ "Nominees and Winners". Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  12. ^ "Barry Awards". Deadly Pleasures Magazine. Archived from the original on April 23, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  13. ^ "Orange Prize Loglist". Women's Prize for Fiction. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  14. ^ "RT Award Nominees and Winners". RT Book Reviews. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  15. ^ "The Investitured (or Invested) Irregulars" (PDF).
  16. ^ "PB2-FrontMatter-11" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  17. ^ "'The Murder of Mary Russell' explores the women closest to Sherlock Holmes". 14 April 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2019 – via Christian Science Monitor.

External links[edit]