Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell Series, Book 1)

In 1915, long since retired from his observations of criminal humanity, Sherlock Holmes is engaged in a reclusive study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. Never did he think to meet an intellect to match his own–until his acquaintance with Miss Mary Russell, a very modern fifteen-year-old whose mental acuity is equaled only by her audacity, tenacity, and penchant for trousers and cloth caps.

Under Holmes’s tutelage, Russell hones her talent for deduction, disguises, and danger: in the chilling case of a landowner’s mysterious fever and in a kidnapping in the wilds of Wales. But her ultimate challenge is yet to come. Soon the two sleuths are on the trail of a murderer whose machinations scatter meaningless clues…but whose objective is quite unequivocal: to end Russell and Holmes’s partnership–and their lives.
Today is a buddy review with Melissa from Book Nut. She asked me some questions, which I answered below, and then I asked her some questions which you can read the answers to on her blog.

You picked the book for the buddy read this time. How did you find out about this one, and what appealed to you about it?
I have seen this series mentioned on many blogs, but where it is a mystery I wasn't entirely sure if it was for me. I don't generally read a lot of mystery series. Lately, though, I have been reading a bit differently and have found a couple history mystery series that work well for me. This is another attempt in this new bookish-area. I wanted to try it because it is historical, but also because I was intrigued by a female perspective on Sherlock Holmes.

So, are you a Sherlock Holmes fan? If so: what did you think of this story, and the way it treated Holmes? If not, did it inspire you to go read some of Conan Doyle's stories?
I have always loved Sherlock Holmes, so this series appealed to me when it first came out. I just wasn't sure if it could be pulled off or if I wanted to give it a try. I don't mind a couple mystery series, but generally I don't read them. It's taken me a couple years to get around to giving the series a try, but I am very glad that I did!

Did you like Mary Russell? What did you think of the juxtaposition between her and Holmes?
I did like Mary. I was really worried in the beginning, but King does a really good job of writing a character that is believable in their interaction with Holmes. I enjoyed their relationship, but admit I am rather curious how she is going to have it all play out as the series progresses. There were a couple times when I wasn't entirely sure what the author was thinking, but she managed to redeem herself and writing an engaging character.

What did you think of the plot -- did it work for you?
I liked the plot. One thing that is very important to me is that there is the mystery, but also that there is a story. I need real characters. I need to know that when they are not solving mysteries they have a life. I don't want to read a novel and have the mystery be the entire focus. There was a nice mix in this book which gives me a lot of hope for the rest of the series.

Without giving away too much: what did you think of the ending?
The ending wasn't my favourite part of the book. That's not to say it was bad, but other parts of the book stuck with me better. I think it was satisfying enough, but nothing amazing.

So, this is a first in the series. Are you interested in reading any of the others?
Yes. I actually do think I will read at least book two. I don't want to commit to the entire series in this answer because you never know what can happen. Liking book one could even be a fluke!


  1. I recently read this one, too! I enjoyed it, though I thought it was slightly overlong. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, though!

  2. I am fascinated by your blog. I have just started my own.. can you plz visit and give me some tips??


  3. I've seen lots of nice things about this one, even downloaded an ebook of it, when they were being given away a year or so back. Not had chance to start reading it yet though.

  4. I love this entire series--the second one is as good or better than this first one, and the two most recent ones continue to be great reads!

  5. I've read this entire series and really enjoyed them all! I hope you enjoy as many as you decide to read!


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