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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nurse, mother, wife, Catholic and avid reader!
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!
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
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.
Would listen again to see how the clues unfolded that I missed the first time around. The Beekeeper's Apprentice
the moment Mary Russell meets Holmes sets up their partnership from the beginning is spot on. The Beekeeper's Apprentice
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