Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

Title: The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell #1)
Author: Laurie R. King
Publisher: Picador
Publish Date: 1994
Source: Library

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You like strong characters
  • You like strong female characters
  • You always wondered what happened to Sherlock Holmes
What's the Story?:

From "In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees in Sussex when a young woman literally stumbles into his lap on the Sussex downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern twentieth-century woman proves a deft protégée, and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. This first book of the Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes mysteries is full of brilliant deduction, disguises, and danger."

My Two Cents:

I had several people recommend this book to me. I usually don't read a lot of mysteries and this book is considered a mystery. I would re-classify it as more of a pure fiction with mystery elements. Mary Russell makes the book. She's a woman before her time. She's headstrong and intelligent. I really liked reading about the interplay between her and Sherlock Holmes. They bring out the best in each other. Holmes is able to teach Russell some of his sleuthing skills in unconventional ways. Alternatively, Russell is able to teach Holmes about the new world of the 20th century (Sherlock Holmes was very much a Victorian man).

I think that it could be very hard to write a new story involving such a famous literary figure as Sherlock Holmes but King pulls it off well. She stays true to Holmes' character and also that of Dr. Watson. 

Holmes and Russell are called in to help a family find their lost little girl (named Jessica Simpson of all things but this novel came out in 1994, well before the singer). Russell and Holmes must rely on all of Holmes' greatest tricks to save Jessica. 

I'm anxious to see where this story goes.

Bottom line: This book will be enjoyable for everyone who likes a good story with vivid characters even if they haven't read any of the Sherlock Holmes tales before.

My Review:
4 out of 5 stars


  1. I may just have to check this one out! I love books with strong female characters, especially during the Victorian time period. Great review!

  2. @Jenna I loved it. Unfortunately it doesn't look like I'll get to the other books anytime soon. There's too many other things to read!

  3. Laurie King is one author that I hope to try soon. In fact I have this book, but am thinking it may be part of a series?

  4. @(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea This book is the first in a series actually! I'm a stickler for starting at the beginning of a book series :)


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