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The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
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The Beekeeper's Apprentice (1994)

by Laurie R. King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mary Russell (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9041891,317 (4.13)371
  1. 60
    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 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. 30
    The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer (markusnenadovus)
  4. 20
    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.
  5. 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.
  6. 20
    A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (47degreesnorth)
  7. 20
    New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Martin Harry Greenberg (Othemts)
  8. 10
    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.
  9. 10
    Chalice by Robin McKinley (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: To continue a bit of the bee theme.
  10. 00
    The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (dreamydress48)
  11. 00
    Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (Sally604)
    Sally604: Mysteries set in the same era with a female detective - lots of fun to read.
  12. 00
    Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett (Othemts)
  13. 00
    Mr Holmes by Mitch Cullin (Othemts)
  14. 00
    The Tale of Hill Top Farm by Susan Wittig Albert (dreamydress48)
    dreamydress48: Same time period; also a cozy mystery. Great series in general.
  15. 01
    Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith (clif_hiker)
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» See also 371 mentions

English (186)  Piratical (1)  All languages (187)
Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
I read this quite awhile ago, but I remember enjoying it. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
My review can be found on my blog, Rachael Reads! Although I will say that I didn't like the way King constantly insulted John Watson in order to make Mary Russell seem like the better companion.

https://rachaelsbookshelf.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/the-beekeepers-apprentice-by-laurie-r-king/ ( )
  Rachael_Reads | Jun 12, 2015 |
This is an affectionate and very entertaining romp through the fringes of Sherlock Holmes country, written by someone with a very good ear for the flow of the original Sherlock Holmes stories and the professional competence as a writer to get away with a pastiche that doesn't read like internet-grade fan-fiction.

Most of the obvious flaws are not introduced by King, but stem from weaknesses in the original. Sir Arthur was writing sensational fiction to meet Edwardian popular tastes: a century later we're a bit less willing to accept plots that rely on disguises, obscure ciphered messages and the ability to follow a line of footprints across a busy London park. King's faithful revival of the format makes these weaknesses a bit more obvious. Bringing in an intelligent, assertive young woman — you notice how hard I'm trying not to use the word "feisty"? — as Holmes's pupil and counterpart helps to give us a modern slant on the stories, but it also exposes the trick behind the whole Holmes mystique: if you have two characters who are both logical reasoning machines with interesting flaws, you start to see how it's done. Modern detectives are expected to have a little more depth, really.

As well as being a mystery, this is also an historical novel, of course. And the great challenge of writing historical fiction set in the recent past is that a lot of your readers are going to be more or less familiar with the language, history, and conventions of the period. You don't necessarily have to write in pastiche period style, but you do have to be careful not to introduce words or descriptive details that jar with the illusion. This is tricky: sometimes the requirements of plausibility conflict with pure accuracy, and sometimes both have to take second place to the plot.

King does a pretty good job in this respect. She has covered herself in advance by leaving it unclear when the text is supposed to have been written and by giving her narrator a mixed Anglo-American background (this not only pleases the punters in the US, but also provides a good excuse for any inadvertent Americanisms). The setting in the last years of the great War is also a good choice, because it was a period in which there are plenty of examples of intelligent, dynamic young women making their mark on English society (Rebecca West, Dorothy L Sayers, the Pankhursts, Winifred Holtby and Vera Brittain, etc., etc.).

The text has very few obvious anachronisms in it (one that annoyed me was "train station", an expression that didn't exist either in British or in American English until about 25 years ago). The most glaring anachronism I saw was a reference to the Welsh counties of Gwent and Powys, which were only created in the seventies (Monmouthshire, Brecon and Radnor would be right for the period). The language is occasionally a little bit awkward and stilted, but that can plausibly be explained away by the pernicious example of Doctor Watson's prose.

Oxford is dangerous ground, because we have so many first-hand accounts of it at that time, and because Oxford is a place where using the right names really matters if you are an undergraduate. King gets most of it right, but she does make a few slips. Saying "Balliol College" instead of "Balliol" in ordinary speech instantly marks you as an outsider. And no-one in the university would ever describe the vacation as a "holiday" (this is the only place in British English where the word "vacation" is used regularly). Some of the oddities of Mary's university career can perhaps be put down to wartime measures or the anomalous situation of the women's colleges at the time, but it's still a bit unlikely that an Oxford theology course of the time would satisfy someone who was primarily interested in Judaism, and extremely unlikely that an undergraduate would be given a key to her lodgings or be allowed to keep a car (even with Mycroft's influence). But those are details, and this is an escapist adventure story. We shouldn't look too closely... ( )
1 vote thorold | Jan 30, 2015 |
This is the first book in King's Mary Russell series, but I actually didn't pick it up until after I read the three novels that follow it. Honestly, I think I preferred it that way as this kind of read like a prequel for me. This was primarily because the first half of the novel is a little episodic, focusing mostly on Holmes and Mary getting to know each other.

After her parents and younger brother died in a car wreck, sixteen year old Mary Russell is sent to live with her aunt in England. Unfortunately, the aunt is an evil tyrant who only keeps her niece around because of the allowance she receives for taking care of Mary. In order to escape the toxic atmosphere of the house, Mary typically roams around the countryside dressed in her father's old clothes and reads. On one such romp, Mary stumbles across a man closely watching a small cluster of bees. After a brief conversation, where they both manage to insult each other, Mary figures out that she's in conversation with the legendary Sherlock Holmes. Impressed by Mary's aptitude in deducting not only who he is, but also exactly why he was watching a group of bees, Holmes convinces Mary to let him teach her his trade. Over the years, Holmes and Mary become close friends with a low level spark of attraction between them. But, being the magnet for danger he is, Holmes is soon targeted by an old enemy and Mary finds herself entangled in the whole affair.

I really adored this book. The beginning is compiled of small adventures that Mary has while learning from Holmes. It was fun watching Mary, during these parts, really come into her own and make the effort to differentiate herself from Holmes' larger-than-life personality. One of my favorites moments was her subtle flaunting of the fact that she's pursuing a degree in theology, much to Holmes' annoyance. However, the book didn't really pick-up and gain focus until the second part when the main mystery plot is introduced.

Part two begins when the people close to Holmes become the targets of an assassin, leading him and Mary to begin a long search to find the person behind the attacks. There's a lot of attraction that hums between Holmes and Mary in this section of the book, which I really loved. You can feel Holmes constantly trying to resist exposing his feelings about Mary while, at the same time, battling the attraction due to their age difference. This was just a really fantastic read, but I'm up in the air on whether or not I would recommend reading this later in the series or in chronological order. Most of the books in the series can stand on their own, so its really up to you on what order you read this series. ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
Even listening to a scratchy, occasionally garbled, obviously-much-played library cassette recording of this couldn't stop me from loving this book. It's just the sort of book I like to read for pure pleasure, for interesting characters doing clever and amusing things. The dynamic between Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes could have gone terribly wrong in the hands of another writer, but King handled it perfectly.

And yay, there are more of them! I foresee this being one of the series a dole out to myself slowly over time, when I know I need something that is just a fun, good book. ( )
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 186 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie R. Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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 (3)

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.
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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 7 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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