Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: "The Beekeeper's Apprentice"

"The Beekeeper's Apprentice" by Laurie R. King
First book in the Mary Russell series
First published in 1994
346 pages
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
(image source)

Sherlock Holmes is graying but just as sharp as ever in 1915 when our protagonist, Mary Russell, literally stumbles across his path in a Sussex field.

Mary, at 15, possesses a brilliant mind and she and Holmes become fast friends, the latter taking Mary under his wing and gently honing her skills at logic and deduction. Before long, Mary becomes Holmes' unofficial apprentice and, though Holmes is not technically an active detective any longer, he's asked to consult on a case he can't refuse.

"The Beekeeper's Apprentice" is a unique look at Sherlock Holmes, told through the eyes of a young female narrator who at just 15 is Holmes' near mental equal. This book takes place during and just after WWI, years after the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, and Holmes is a somewhat different man by this point. I liked that King wasn't trying to re-tell the originals, but instead invented new mysteries and gave Holmes a completely different kind of sidekick -- or, rather, partner.

The book was cozy, it was fun, it was full of disguises and ruses and bees and meat pies and long hours spent in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Mary Russell is a very likeable tale-teller and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting down with a cup of tea and discovering the new world of Sherlock Holmes with her. I will most definitely read the rest of Laurie R. King's Sherlockian series.


  1. I've been reading the complete Sherlock Holmes. Putting this on my library request list. Thank you!

    1. Hi Jessie, I think you'll like this fast-forwarded version of Sherlock, older and in a totally different time period. You'll have to let me know if you enjoy it!


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