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The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994)

by Laurie R. King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mary Russell (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,7212451,429 (4.09)427
  1. 120
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (clif_hiker, 47degreesnorth)
    47degreesnorth: Younger heroine and more precocious but similar
  2. 60
    A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King (catpal1)
    catpal1: All of the books in this series are wonderful. It's such a fresh take on the Sherlock Holmes fiction: the give-and-take reminds me of the old Kate Hepburn/Spencer Tracy pairings.
  3. 50
    A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (47degreesnorth)
  4. 40
    The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer (markusnenadovus)
  5. 30
    Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (Sally604)
    Sally604: Mysteries set in the same era with a female detective - lots of fun to read.
  6. 30
    The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (47degreesnorth)
    47degreesnorth: No Holmes but younger more precocious heroine with a thirst to solve the case.
  7. 20
    New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Martin Harry Greenberg (Othemts)
  8. 20
    Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (yonitdm)
    yonitdm: They both feature brilliant, strong women as main characters, plus mystery, intrigue, and many, many cups of tea.
  9. 20
    The Final Solution. A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon (laytonwoman3rd)
    laytonwoman3rd: This book also features an elderly beekeeper who does some detecting, and who we are meant to understand to be Sherlock Holmes, although his name is not mentioned.
  10. 10
    Chalice by Robin McKinley (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: To continue a bit of the bee theme.
  11. 00
    And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander (nessreader)
  12. 00
    Mr Holmes by Mitch Cullin (Othemts)
  13. 00
    Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett (Othemts)
  14. 01
    Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith (clif_hiker)

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» See also 427 mentions

English (241)  Piratical (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (244)
Showing 1-5 of 241 (next | show all)
More of a 2 and a half for me. I unfortunately read this at the same time as The Left-Handed Lady (Nancy Springer's take on Sherlock Holmes' young sister's adventures) which was so much more fun. This is not a fun book, the main character is very Mary Sue, IMO, and the prose seemed to be written in dreary grey. I would pick up my Kobo and be disappointed to recall that this was the current book. Not bad--certainly not bad enough to abandon--just constantly not-as-engaging as I'd hoped it would be.

It rather feels like Mary Russell has tried to push herself into the canon, and I read the whole thing not believing her story, really. I would say to myself "Seriously? You were that important?" etc. If Ms. King had posited, I don't know, a parlor maid who picked up some mad detecting skillz from proximity to greatness, and then tried solving her own crimes, I'd have enjoyed it so much more than having to accept some amazing protégée whom we've never heard of before.

The mysteries themselves were also of no great interest, but it was primarily everything else that sort of rubbed me the wrong way. 3 for the mysteries, 1 for the rest, average rating: 2.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |

In 1915, the aging Sherlock Holmes meets teenage Mary Russell, and is taken enough with her that she becomes a student and apprentice. There's war in Europe, old social rules and barriers are breaking down at home, and life is never going to be the same.

Mary Russell won't have to waste her energy, intelligence, and the education Holmes is giving her.

This is an episodic novel, as Holmes and Russell have their first adventures together, first small, local mysteries, and gradually larger and more momentous cases. We see both Russell and Holmes growing and changing Russell more than Holmes, of course, but as Russell becomes a more capable assistant and partner, Holmes has to deal with his own misogynistic attitudes towards women.

It's an interesting take on the Holmes canon, and despite initial skepticism, I found it an enjoyable and satisfying one. Familiar names crop up, too, sometimes attached to their original owners; sometimes to their offspring.

I wasn't entirely satisfied with the narrator's handling of some of the voices, but not unhappy enough that it detracted much from my enjoyment.


I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Sherlock Holmes has long ago retired, and is studying honeybees in Sussex Downs. It is here that he stumble, literally across Mary Russell. She is an orphan that has intellect to match his own. Sherlock sees her potential and she quickly becomes his apprentice and partner in a way Watson never could. Then an elusive villain enters the picture and their partnership is truly put to the test.
I like this book a lot. I loved the introduction and the story behind how the story came to be. Mary Russell is a strong smart woman and Sherlock sees that from the start. The writing really drew me in and I had a hard time putting it down. The book is thicker and more complex than it looks and it made me happy. I wanted to immediately pick up the next one in the series. I really enjoy how much independence Mary gets and how much Holmes trusts her.
I do feel the morarity storyline and the suicide were a bit redundant. Mainly because I recently re-watched Sherlock and since essentially the same storyline was used there, it felt overplayed. But maybe Sherlock stole the idea from Laurie R. King.
For additional reviews please see my blog at www.adventuresofabibliophile.blogspot.com
  Serinde24 | Aug 17, 2018 |
As a Sherlock Holmes-styled mystery, this is good but the idea of Holmes coming out of retirement to partner with a young woman 39 years his junior was a little off-putting for me. But I’ve read later books in the series where Holmes new partner Mary Russell is in her 20’s and the age disparity didn't seem so awkward in those. So it may just be this one book. I hope that's the case because this has just what I like so much in ACD’s Sherlock Holmes adventures – intriguing mysteries solved by keen observation and deduction, mastermind villains, and of course, Holmes himself. ( )
  wandaly | Jul 9, 2018 |
Reread of first in Russell series. Young and isolated heiress meets semi-retired Holmes and gradually realizes he is testing and training her.
  ritaer | Jun 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 241 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie R. Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For another M.R., my mother, Mary Richardson
First words
I was fifteen when I first met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and I nearly stepped on him.
He said nothing. Very sarcastically.
My main passions were becoming theoretical Mathematics and the complexities of Rabbinic Judaism, two topics which are dissimilar only on the surface.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
U raskošnoj galeriji likova koju je za sobom ostavio Arthur Conan Doyle gdje središnje mjesto zauzima portret Sherlocka Holmesa, pored njega, osim slike dr. Watsona, ostao je prazan okvir savršeno podoban da udomi prkosni profil jedne gospođice.
Američka književnica Laurie R. King, dobitnica dviju prestižnih nagrada za najbolji kriminalistički roman godine, odvažno je odlučila ispuniti taj okvir likom mlade Mary Russell.
Jednog sunčanog dana u travnju 1915. nedaleko od svoje kuće u Sussexu Mary Russell umalo je nagazila na pognuta pedesetogodišnjaka potpuno zaokupljena promatranjem pčela. Drska i načitana, petnaestogodišnjakinja briljantna uma i zadivljujuće sposobnosti dedukcije, izmamit će od inače ženama nesklonog Holmesa iznenađen komentar. “Pa to zna razmišljati!”
Tako će početi naukovanje Mary Russell, buduće suradnice djelomično umirovljenog slavnog detektiva Sherlocka Holmesa. Njihove zajedničke avanture zabilježene su u pet dosad objavljenih romana i zacijelo predstavljaju najvjerniji nastavak književnog rada Arthura Conana Doylea.
Laurie R. King u svojim je djelima uspjela vjerodostojno dočarati ton, ugođaj i duh vremena, zadržavši izvornu cjelovitost Holmesova karaktera i pritom kao ravnopravnu protutežu stvorila potpuno samostalan, oštrouman, duhovit i zanosan ženski lik.
Roman Pčelareva naučnica Laurie R. King s engleskoga je, u ukradenom vremenu između dvije Patricije Cornwell, prevela Martina Gračanin, a ilustraciju na naslovnici izradio je Igor Kordej, uz napomenu da su oba crna lovca namjerno naslikana na bijelim poljima jer negativci uvijek igraju prljavo.
Haiku summary
Old Holmes meets his match
She's his child-bride and partner
Together they sleuth

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312427360, Paperback)

An Agatha Award Best Novel Nominee
Named One of the Century's Best 100 Mysteries by the Independent
Mystery Booksellers Association
From New York Times bestselling author Laurie R. King comes the book that introduced us to the ingenious Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes mysteries

In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees when a young woman literally stumbles into him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes--and match him wit for wit. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern twentieth-century woman proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. In their first case together, they must track down a kidnapped American senator's daughter and confront a truly cunning adversary--a bomber who has set trip wires for the sleuths and who will stop at nothing to end their partnership. Full of brilliant deductions, disguises, and dangers, this first book of the Mary Russell--Sherlock Holmes mysteries is "wonderfully original and entertaining . . . absorbing from beginning to end" (Booklist).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:08 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Chance meeting with a Sussex beekeeper turns into a pivotal, personal transformation when fifteen-year-old Mary Russell discovers that the beekeeper is the reclusive, retired detective Sherlock Holmes, who soon takes on the role of mentor and teacher.… (more)

» see all 10 descriptions

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