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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
4,4232251,108 (4.1)398
  1. 100
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (clif_hiker, 47degreesnorth)
    47degreesnorth: Younger heroine and more precocious but similar
  2. 50
    A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (47degreesnorth)
  3. 50
    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.
  4. 40
    The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer (markusnenadovus)
  5. 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.
  6. 20
    Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (Sally604)
    Sally604: Mysteries set in the same era with a female detective - lots of fun to read.
  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 398 mentions

English (221)  Piratical (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All (224)
Showing 1-5 of 221 (next | show all)
The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R. King covers the early days of the relationship between Mary Russell and a retired Sherlock Holmes.

Set against the backdrop of World War I and the tragic outcome and loss of life, Mary and Sherlock's relationship develops slowly. He is tutoring her in detective work while at the same time Mary is preparing herself to enter Oxford to study theology.

As the story progresses, Mary makes herself increasingly useful to Sherlock in a number of cases which progress in seriousness. Mary gains confidence and praise from her tutor as time goes by. The story culminates in an attempt on the lives of our protagonists and their friends.

I wasn't quite as pleased with this book as I thought I'd be. Several sections dragged for me, but overall the writing was good and I enjoyed my visit with the Great Sleuth. Mary's character was evolving in maturity and perhaps I won't be so enamoured of her personality in the next volume. We'll have to see. ( )
  Zumbanista | Jun 15, 2017 |
The first of Laurie King's Mary Russell mysteries, in which the young Russell encounters a semi-retired Sherlock Holmes and he, recognising a mind perhaps as sharp as his own, takes her as an apprentice in the trade of consulting detective.

This is extremely well written, catching some of the style of the Holmes stories without becoming pastiche, but also with a difference as it is from the perspective of Mary Russell, a 19 year old Anglo-American, half-Jewish girl studying maths and theology. I don't know if King has spent time in the UK, but I don't think I've ever come across an American writer whose grasp of British English (albeit the British English of the early 20th century) is better; usually, even with very good writers, there are little tells and mistakes that glare out, but I didn't catch a single one. (For the record, I'm sure British writers do that with Americanisms, although we have the advantage of being inundated with wall-to-wall American media. Score one for cultural imperialism ;) ).

The novel falls into several parts. It begins with Russell encountering Holmes observing bees on the Sussex downs and their building acquaintance. There is the first mystery - a robbery at a local inn, small fry that Holmes would not usually become involved in - and then they are asked to consult on the abduction of the young daughter of a US politician holidaying in Wales. This leads into the main event, a previously unknown criminal mastermind targeting Holmes and those close to him, obviously for reasons that are quite personal.

The mystery aspect is handled very well, although some of the surprises are a little telegraphed and obvious to anyone familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories. Some if this, it may be argued, is down to Russell's youthful naivety. For instance, on at least three occasions she is surprised to find that a stranger she encounters is Holmes in disguise, despite his tutoring her in those very skills. Likewise the denouement is, perhaps, a little telegraphed, but not so much as to lose its effectiveness.

One thing I am not so sure how I feel about is only alluded to in this book, although likely to become more apparent in later volumes. The closeness between Russell and Holmes develops beyond an attraction of mind to friendship and affection, but there are hints that it will go further. There is a mention of the main character's name later being Mary Russell-Holmes. This is far enough away from my conception of Holmes to make me uncertain; I will not dismiss the idea of a romantic attachment for Holmes out of hand, but I admit I am a little leery of it. Or perhaps it is the 40 year age gap that makes me uncomfortable.

That said, it is made quite clear early on that Russell feels Holmes has been misrepresented by Doyle's stories, based on Watson's journals. He is not the cold, emotionless calculating machine sometimes shown. I thought the portrayal of Holmes was informed by some of the screen representations, where an actor has invested the character with more feeling than is sometimes shown in the books. Jeremy Brett's wonderful turn in the long-running British TV series from the 80s and 90s comes to mind.

I should say a word about the preface. King sets the whole thing up that she is merely the editor of a trunkload of manuscripts sent anonymously to her, along with some items that seem to be connected, much in the way of George MacDonald Fraser with the Flashman papers. Even thought she openly states that she makes no claims for the veracity of the documents and that they may well be a work of fiction, this does add a nice layer, a nod toward Sherlock Holmes being one of those characters from fiction who is so much a part of public consciousness he has almost become a historical person. ( )
  Pezski | Jun 8, 2017 |
I have to say from the start that I just don't like Mary Russell, period. The character gets on my nerves. But ignoring that....

The author plays fast and loose with the Canon. She shifts Holmes date of birth by a number of years to accommodate her story line. This would make Sherlock Holmes practically a teenager at the time of The Study in Scarlet. But ignoring that....

Her Sherlock Holmes does not sound like Sherlock Holmes to me and her Watson seems more like the bumbling Nigel Bruce counterfeit than it does the Watson of the Canon. Perhaps her Holmes is derived from Rathbone as well? That would explain Holmes (and Russell's) attitude towards Watson which is not consistent with the Canon. As much as I love the Rathbone and Bruce movies, the truth is that Doyle's stories are better and an author should always go back to the original source for the essence of the characters.

I can believe that Holmes might possibly have a relationship with a woman in his retirement. I can believe Holmes might take an apprentice in his retirement. I can believe that apprentice might be a young woman. This book has not made me believe that Mary Russell is all those things. ( )
  DarleneCypser | May 30, 2017 |
A young girl becomes the partner of an older Sherlock Holmes as they work together to solve the kidnapping of a Senator's daughter. Then, they are faced with finding their own attempted murderer. All relatively good, except the ending leaves one with a bit of a feeling of chance, luck - not something I was expecting after all the precise, deductive actions that were taken prior to the end. Otherwise, a fairly good read. ( )
  addunn3 | Apr 24, 2017 |
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 nearly stepped on him.

That’s is opening lines of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and a book that I have read several times since the first time I read it when I was around 14-15 years old. The strange and wonderful thing is that it’s a book that never ceases to be anything other than enjoyable despite the countless times I’ve read it.

Mary Russell is a young girl when she stumbles over Sherlock Holmes in a field as he is painting bees with red and blue dots. Seems like an odd thing to do, but she quickly figures out why and tells him and then she really surprise him when she reveals that she is actually a girl under the boyish clothes she is wearing. And, that is the start of a friendship that will lead to her being accepted as his apprentice.

It’s a wonderful book. It’s one of those I return to when I feel the need to visit old friends. The story never gets boring; it feels rather like I’m still discovering new things about the book every time I read the book. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
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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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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 9 descriptions

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