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The Beekeeper's Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, Book 1 | [Laurie R. King]

The Beekeeper's Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, Book 1

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 20th-century woman proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective.
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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling 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 20th-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). Named "One of the Century's Best 100 Mysteries" by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

©1994 Laurie R. King (P)2007 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

  • Agatha Award, Best Novel Nominee

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1304 )
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  •  
    Ploni Almoni New Jersey 04-16-15
    Ploni Almoni New Jersey 04-16-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    "Tedious story, terrible narration"
    What would have made The Beekeeper's Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen better?

    A more authentic approach to Victorian dialogue. This sounded more like a parody of a Sherlock Holmes story. There was nothing terribly clever or delightful as one finds in the original stories.


    What was most disappointing about Laurie R. King’s story?

    Where to begin? The lack of imaginative devices, the re-casting of Holmes--Sherlock Holmes!--as a compassionate lover of all humanity, the horrible unnatural dialogue, the anachronisms rife throughout the book, the tedium of what little plot there was.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was absolutely awful. Her Holmes voice was whiny, grating and far too plummy. Her reading was too slow, and the sound engineering was poor, as I could hear an echo in the background.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment, as it was a recommendation from a friend whose opinion I trust....and sheer disbelief that I managed to get through the entire thing.


    Any additional comments?

    A must-miss.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Henry Chesapeake, Virginia 04-03-15
    Henry Chesapeake, Virginia 04-03-15 Member Since 2015
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    19
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    "Exquisite"

    Have read the complete words of Holmes and find these tales refreshing. Hope to read more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen A. Foster 03-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    2
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    "Very entertaining."

    At every chapter you have hopes for the orphaned Mary Russell. Intelligent and funny Mary and Sherlock Holmes set out to solve mysteries testing both their characters and friendship. Enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle 02-22-15
    Michelle 02-22-15 Member Since 2015
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    3
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    Story
    "Exceptional fiction."

    If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan.... This is a great time for you. Smart and weird, loved it. Word.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Barnett 01-27-15
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    "Good story but bad reading"

    Although I am a big fan of this series, I was quite disappointed in the quality of the reading. Despite the narrators attempt to give each character depth by changing her voice, I found it a rather flat reading.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-26-15
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    4
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    "Love Holmes - and Russell!"

    I have loved Sherlock Holmes since childhood and now love Mary Russell. Great recording by Jenny Sterlin. Looking forward to next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bellevue, WA 01-25-15
    Amazon Customer Bellevue, WA 01-25-15 Member Since 2013

    Rebecca

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    "A new adventure"

    This was my first real foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes and I loved it. The narrator was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen 01-18-15
    Colleen 01-18-15 Member Since 2001

    Nurse, mother, wife, Catholic and avid reader!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow start but good ending"

    Very slow to start! Draggy with lots of superfluous detail but then the story starts to come together and events get heated. Unfortunately, the author decides to add in a big dull digression into Jerusalem. Boring and a bit pointless so I guess it must foundation for a future plot point but yawn. However, once they get back to England the story picks up so now I want to listen to the second in the series!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Murphy 12-30-14
    Mike Murphy 12-30-14

    Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful reimagining of Holmes with new partner"

    I stumbled over "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" and fell in love with it after only a few pages. As the audiobook was recorded in 2014 I thought I had discovered a hot new talent to share with the world. Then I noticed that I was reading the "20th Anniversary Edition" and realised that I was catching up with an author I should have been reading for year.

    The upside of this is that there are twelve more books in the series already, so a feast lies ahead of me.

    The beekeeper's apprentice of the title is Mary Russell. She is as old as the century (or at least she was when the book was written in 1994) and is looking back on her long association with Sherlock Holmes whom she first bumped into on the Sussex Downs in 1915, when she was a teenage girl recovering from a recent calamity and seeking refuge in books and long walks. Sherlock Holmes, in his fifties and allegedly retired, now lives in the country, keeping bees and writing papers on the topics such as how to disguise one's footprints.

    The book spans a four-year period which lays the foundation for a long-term relationship between Russell and Holmes. During this time the two are involved in three "cases" plus a side trip to Palestine. While the cases and the means of solving them are very reminiscent of Conan Doyle's Holmes, the man himself is quite different. The Holmes Russell sees is older, more humane, and (eventually) more willing to share than his earlier self. Russell is intellect and focus, seasoned by guilt beyond her years and more than ready both to challenge and learn from Holmes. Russell and Holmes and the relationship between them are the heart of this book. The cases are there only to set that heart racing.

    The pace of the book, while not as slow as the original Conan Doyle stories sometimes were, is still leisurely by modern standards. I think it is all the better for that. I liked the idea that Russell and Holmes, on a desperate search to find a missing girl, still take days to reach the scene of the crime so that they can arrive in disguise, using the right form of transport. The finally case includes a side-trip to Palestine of several weeks. It is not strictly necessary to the plot and we find out very little about the assignment that Russell and Holmes have been on but their passage through the desert is uses to season and strengthen their relationship in ways that seem authentic to me.

    If you are already a fan of Holmes then this book revisits that universe in a way that invigorates and refreshes while still honouring and building on the original (Think what "Dark Knight Rises" did for Batman or what "Into Darkness" did for Star Trek). If you've never read Conan Doyle this book will still carry you along on its merits and may even tempt you to try some of the "original" material for yourself.

    I suspect that this is a love/hate book. If the style of writing doesn't grip your imagination and win your heart by the end of Book 1 of the novel, then this is not for you. If, like me, you are entranced, then another eleven or so books lie in your future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Dixon 09-20-14
    Mary Dixon 09-20-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great story and love the interplay of characters."
    Would you listen to The Beekeeper's Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen again? Why?

    Would listen again to see how the clues unfolded that I missed the first time around. The Beekeeper's Apprentice


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Beekeeper's Apprentice, or On the Segregation of the Queen?

    the moment Mary Russell meets Holmes sets up their partnership from the beginning is spot on. The Beekeeper's Apprentice


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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