Mary Russell

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Name: Mary Russell
Creator: Laurie R. King
Date(s): 1994-ongoing
Medium: novels
Country of Origin: Britain-US
External Links: Laurie R. King's homepage
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The Mary Russell series, by Laurie R. King, is a sequel to the Sherlock Holmes series that concentrates on the life of adventures of Mary Russell, a British-American woman who becomes first Holmes's apprentice, and later his wife. The fandom is sometimes referred to as The Beekeeper's Apprentice, after the first novel in the series. Although widely criticised, both for its Mary Sue qualities and for the "heresy" of marrying off Holmes, it has a strong fanbase.

The Fandom

The Russell fandom is largely based on mailing lists, although a LiveJournal community does exist. The RUSS-L list (link) was created in the 1990s by R. J. Anderson, and moved to Yahoogroups in 2000. In 2006, in response to a decrease in meaningful content, and a general failure to adhere to list rules, R. J. Anderson appointed two co-mods, Branwyn and LizBee. In the ensuing controversy, a rival list, Letters of Mary (link), was founded. R. J. Anderson and Branwyn both resigned their modships later that year, leaving LizBee as the sole listmod.


As of October 2019, the Yahoo page for RUSS-L showed a membership of nearly 1000 -- but also showed the most recent messages as being from late 2011 and early 2012, and recorded only very light, intermittent list activity (in three of the five years from 2008 through 2012, message traffic was less than 100 posts per year). A link purporting to lead to a new site generated an intermediate screen offering to install browser extensions and change security settings, usually a sign that malware or worse lies ahead.

Letters of Mary

As of October 2019, the Yahoo page for Letters of Mary showed a membership of 645, with steady message traffic (several thousand posts per year) from 2006 through late 2016. From fall 2016 to fall 2019, message traffic was significantly lighter with occasional periods of inactivity (and a brief spike in mid-2018).