The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by: Laurier R King

Book: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
Author: Laurie R. King
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Picador
Date Published: Oct 2 2007


Sherlock Holmes takes on a young, female apprentice in this delightful and well-wrought addition to the master detective’s casework. In the early years of WW I, 15-year-old American Mary Russell encounters Holmes, retired in Sussex Downs where Conan Doyle left him raising bees. Mary, an orphan rebelling against her guardian aunt’s strictures, impresses the sleuth with her intelligence and acumen. Holmes initiates her into the mysteries of detection, allowing her to participate in a few cases when she comes home from her studies at Oxford. The collaboration is ignited by the kidnapping in Wales of Jessica Simpson, daughter of an American senator. The sleuthing duo find signs of the hand of a master criminal, and after Russell rescues the child, attempts are made on their lives (and on Watson’s), with evidence piling up that the master criminal is out to get Holmes and all he holds dear. King ( A Grave Talent ) has created a fitting partner for the Great Detective: a quirky, intelligent woman who can hold her own with a man renowned for his contempt for other people’s thought processes.

Why I read this book:

Steph recommended it, when I had said I wanted to read Sherlock Holmes.  She said this was much better.  While I haven’t read the original material, I might be inclined to agree.


I listened to this on audio book and I can’t even begin to tell you how absolutely charming and wonderful Jenny Sterlin was to listen too.  She had a way of doing the different voices that just swept me up in the story and refused to release me.  I was transfixed and completely awed.

The story was absolutely positively wonderful.  At first I found it a bit hard to focus on, as it wondered for my tastes.  But it is the first novel and one must first set up the world in which we are to associate in.  This is the story of how a fifteen year old Marry Russell befriends a retired Sherlock Holmes and becomes his student and apprentice.

The story was told episodic, and after I adjusted to it, I grew to like it.  The further I got into the story the more I love the authors voice and how she chose to tell this tale.  Linear but kind of meandering but all with meaning.  All the mysteries were masterfully set up and they gave the clues along the way so that the reader could play connect the dots as well.

Final Thoughts:

If you try one new author this year I recommend Laurie R King’s Marry Russell series.  I am not a huge mystery fan, but the way she shapes this had me absolutely delighted.  I felt like the characters were old friends by the end of the story.  This is the beginning of the series, but I suspect you could read just this book and forever be satisfied by it.  It is the type of book I think that you could read over and over again and always find something new and delightful.

Rating: 9/10 (it would have been a 10 except for the wondering part that I needed to adjust to.  Still absolutely marvelous though)


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